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AN ASTRONOMER'S WIFE
ANGELINE HALL IN MATURE LIFE
AN ASTRONOMER'S WIFE
THE BIOGRAPHY OF ANGELINE HALL
By Her Son
ANGELINE HALL IN MATURE i<":
AN ASTRONOMER'S WIFE
THE BIOGRAPHY OF ANGELINE HALL
By Her Son
Nunn & Company
Copyright, 1908, by
%%t JSo*& (gdiimovt (preee
BALTIMORE, MD-, U. S. A.
TO MY DAUGHTER
Chapter I. A Grand-daughter of the Revolution 13
II. The Fatherless Child 20
III. Lady Angeline 24
IV. Teaching School 30
V. The Next Step 33
VI. College Days 38
VII. College Productions 47
VIII. Asaph, Hall, Carpenter 54
IX. Courtship and Marriage 59
X. Ann Arbor and Shalersville 66
XI. Strenuous Times 70
XII. Love in a Cottage 80
XIII. Washington and the Civil War 86
XIV. The Gay Street Home 96
XV. An American Woman 104
XVI. A Bundle of Letters 116
XVII. Augusta Larned's Tribute 127
Angeline Hall in Mature Life Frontispiece
An Old Daguerreotype Opposite Chapter V
The Gay Street Home Opposite Chapter XIV
Photograph of 1878 Opposite Chapter XV
Dear Peggy: As I tell you this story of the noble grand-
mother who, dying long before you were born, would other-
wise be to you a picture of the imagination, I am going to
let the public listen, for several reasons:
First. The public will want to listen, for everybody is
interested in true stories of real folks.
Secondly. While your grandmother was not the most
wonderful woman that ever lived, she was a typical Ameri-
can. Her story possesses the charm and fascination of a
romance, for she was a daughter of the pioneers — those ill-
fed and ill-clothed people who, in spite of their short-
comings, intellectual, moral, and physical, have been the
most forceful race in history.
Thirdly. This story vindicates the higher education of
women. Your grandmother, dear Peggy, was a Bachelor
of Arts. Now it is maintained in some quarters that women
become bachelors so as to avoid having children. But your
grandmother had four sons, every one of whom she sent
through Harvard College.
Finally. This story will demonstrate conclusively that
college-bred women should not marry young men who earn
less than three hundred dollars a year. When you marry,
dear Peggy, insist that your husband shall earn at least a
dollar a day. This precept will bar out the European
nobility, but will put a premium on American nobility.
Signed and sealed this ist day of November, in the year
of our Lord 1908, at Annapolis, Anne Arundel County,
A GRAND-DAUGHTER OF THE REVOLUTION.
One fine winter morning a little more than a hundred
years ago the sun peeped into the snow-clad valley of the
Connecticut, and smiled cordially upon the snug homes of
the sons and daughters of the American Revolution. The
Yankee farmers had long been stirring. Smoke curled up
from every chimney in Ellington. The cattle had been fed
and watered. Pans of new milk stood on the pantry shelves,
breakfast was over, and the family was gathered about the
fireside to worship God and to render Him thanks for peace
At Elisha Cook's, on this particular winter morning, the
simple Puritan rites were especially earnest. The mother
had gathered the children into her arms, and the light of
high resolve lit up her face; for this day the family was to
begin a long, hard journey westward — away from the town
of Ellington, away from Tolland County, away from Con-
necticut and New England, beyond the Dutch settlements of
New York State to Lake Ontario and the Black River
I will not attempt to describe that journey in January,
1806. Suffice it to say that Elisha Cook and his wife Hul-
dah, setting their faces bravely westward, sought and found
a home in the wilderness. They went to stay. No turning
14 An Astronomer's Wife.
back for those hardy pioneers. Children and household
goods went with them. With axe and plough, hammer and
saw, spinning-wheel and loom, they went forth to enlarge
the Kingdom of God. There was no Erie Canal in those
early days. The red men had hardly quitted the unbroken
forests. Not many years had passed since Fort Stanwix
resounded with the warwhoops of St. Leger's Indians. In-
deed, Huldah Cook herself — she was Huldah Pratt then, a
little girl of ten years — had been in Albany when Burgoyne
No doubt as the emigrants entered the Mohawk Valley,
little Electa Cook heard from her mother's lips something
about Arnold and Morgan and their victorious soldiers.
Perhaps she saw in imagination what her mother had act-
ually seen — soldiers in three-cornered hats, some in uniform
and some in plain homespun, every man armed with pow-
der horn and musket, hurrying through the streets of the
quaint old town to the American camp beyond. Perhaps
she saw the fiery Arnold himself, mounted on his fiery war-
horse. Perhaps she saw Daniel Morgan and his men — of
all the heroes of the Revolution none was braver and truer
than he, and of all the soldiers in Washington's army none
could shoot straighter than the men that magnanimous gen-
eral sent to Gates — Morgan's riflemen. t
Moses Stickney was a crack shot, too. I have seen a long-
barreled musket of fine workmanship which he carried in the
Revolution, and have listened to tales of his marksmanship
still preserved in the Vermont valley whither his sons
treked westward from their New Hampshire home. Be-
A Grand-daughter of the Revolution. 15
tween that snug little valley and the Connecticut River is a
high ridge, from the top of which Mt. Monadnock is clearly
seen. And it was by the side of that grand old mountain,
in the town of Jaffrey, that Moses Stickney, late of Wash-
ington's army, provided a home for his bride, Mary Hast-
ings, whom he loved and cherished for sixty-nine years,
lacking four days. Tradition says this lady was descended
from an English earl. Certain it is she bore her husband
four noble sons and four fair daughters.
But who was Moses Stickney? Why, he bears the same
relation to the heroine of this story as does Elisha Cook.
He was Angeline Stickney's grandfather — her paternal
grandfather, of course. No child could have wished better
forebears than these — Moses Stickney and Mary Hastings,
Elisha Cook and Huldah Pratt. It is recorded of Moses
Stickney that he yoked up his oxen on the day he became one
hundred years old. A nonagenarian of Gill, Mass., by the
name of Perry, who resided in Jaffrey, N. H., from 1837 to
1847, used to tell me of this Revolutionary ancestor, with
whom he became well acquainted during those ten years.
The old soldier was fond of telling war stories, and tradition
has it that he carried his long-barreled musket at Bunker
Hill. Though his eyes were bloodshot, like the Moses of
Scripture his natural force was unabated. He was about
five feet, ten inches tall, rather slender, and a good walker
even in extreme old age.
Now Moses Stickney had a daughter Mary, who was
courted and won by a gay young man of the name of Daniel
Gilman. Just what the virtues and vices of this gallant may
have been I am unable to say; but he vexed his father-in-
law to such an extent that the old gentleman declared no
16 An Astronomer's Wife.
more young men should come to woo his daughters. " If
they come," said he, " damn 'em, I'll shoot 'em." Being a
crack shot, he simply needed thus to define his position. His
daughters Lois and Charlotte lived out their days at home,
maiden ladies. The oldest sister, Susan, had escaped the
parental decree, presumably, by marrying before its pro-
Young Gilman shortly left for parts unknown — though
shrewdly guessed at. The War of 1812 was going on, and
the Black River Country, home of Elisha Cook, was the
scene of great activity. Thither, then, went young The-
ophilus Stickney, brother to Mary, in search of her runa-
way husband. Tradition says he unearthed him. However
that may be, young Stickney, himself a gay and handsome
youth of four and twenty, found the country pleasant, and
its maidens fresh and blooming. Moreover, his skill in car-
pentry, for he was an excellent workman, was much in de-
mand. So instead of returning home to New Hampshire, he
wooed and wedded Electa, daughter of Elisha Cook.
It would be agreeable to me to record that they lived
happily ever after. But they did not. No couple could have
started life under more favorable auspices : the bride, a dark-
haired, rosy-cheeked maiden of eighteen years, daughter of
a prosperous farmer; the groom a handsome, curly-haired
man of twenty-six, of proved ability in his calling, and a
prize for any country girl. They were married on Washing-
ton's birthday, 1816 — at a time when this country had finally
declared her emancipation from the tyranny of foreign
kings, when the star-spangled banner had been vindicated
by Old Hickory at New Orleans, and hallowed by Francis
Scott Key at Baltimore. So these young patriots needed
A Grand-daughter of the Revolution. 17
only to conquer themselves; but herein they failed — at least,
Theophilus Stickney did.
It is delightful to contemplate how Americans of those
days, clinging to the songs of Merrie England, to the Eng-
lish Bible, and to English learning, defied the political au-
thority of the Old World, and realized the dream of eighteen
Christian centuries by establishing on a new soil the Brother-
hood of Man. But it is sad to see how many Americans of
those days and of these days, too, have failed to overcome
the weaknesses inherent in human nature. The only free
man is he who is master of himself, whether the person at
the head of the government be called King or President.
But do not form the impression that Theophilus Stickney
was guilty of unpardonable sins. He was an altogether
lovable man. In fact, I half suspect he won his father-in-law
as readily as his bride. Both men were fond of music, and
sang well. They were generous, large-hearted, as befits the
pioneer. Resolved to win a home on the shores of the Great
Lakes, they yet loved New England and Old England, too.
Little pertaining to my unfortunate grandfather, Theophilus
Stickney, has come down to me, except the songs he sang.
One of them begins :
'Twas on the fourteenth day of May
Our troops set sail for America.
Perhaps the best stanza of this homely ballad is the fol-
We saw those bold American sons
Deal death and slaughter with their guns.
Bold British blood runs thro' their veins,
While proud old England sinks in chains.
An Astronomer's Wife.
The best of his ballads, to my mind, was this — the music
of which I have tried to preserve, for a little old lady of
seventy years, his daughter, sang it to me long ago:
On yonder high mountain there the castle doth stand,
All decked in green ivy from the top to the strand;
Fine arches, fine porches, and the limestone so white —
'Tis a guide for the sailor in the dark stormy night.
'Tis a landscape of pleasure, 'tis a garden of green,
And the fairest of flowers that ever was seen.
For hunting, for fishing, and for fowling also —
The fairest of flowers on this mountain doth grow.
At the foot of this mountain there the ocean doth flow,
And ships from the East Indies to the westward do go,
With the red flags aflying and the beating of drums —
Sweet instruments of music and the firing of guns.
Had Polly proved loyal I'd have made her my bride,
But her mind being inconstant it ran like the tide ;
The king can but love her, and I do the same —
I'll crown her my jewel and be her true swain.
Trouble was in store for the young carpenter and his
bride. He contracted to build a house for a neighbor, finding
all the lumber himself, and going into the woods with his
men to hew out the timbers. The work done, the pay for it
was not forthcoming, and his own little home, with a farm
of eighty-five acres, nearly paid for, was swallowed up. So
A Grand-daughter of the Revolution. 19
the family moved to the Genesee Country to seek a better
fortune. Here the children — for there were children now —
suffered from fever and ague ; and humbling his pride, The-
ophilus Stickney accepted his father-in-law's invitation to
return to the Black River Country and live on a piece of the
Cook farm. Here it was, in the town of Rodman, Jefferson
County, that Chloe Angeline Stickney, the carpenter's sixth
child, was born. There were three older sisters, and two
little brothers had died in infancy.
The soil of Rodman is to this day very productive. In
those early days grain grew abundantly, there were no rail-
roads to ship it away, and distilleries were set up every-
where. The best of good whisky was as free as water ; and
Theophilus Stickney became a drunkard. It is the sin of
many a fine nature, but like other sins it is visited upon the
third and fourth generations. Especially was it visited upon
little Angeline, a child of a very fine and sensitive organiza-
tion. For sixty-two years, in a weakened nervous system,
did she pay the penalty of her father's intemperance. To
her that father was but a name. Before she was three years
old he had left home to become a wanderer. And in Feb-
ruary, 1842, he died among strangers in a hospital at
THE FATHERLESS CHILD.
All the saints had not appeared on earth till the birth of
Chloe Angeline Stickney on All Saints' Day, 1830. At least,
if she is not one of the All Saints she is one of the Hall
Saints. No doubt the associations connected with her birth-
day helped the growing girl toward a realization of her
ideals ; for in after life, in the sweet confidence of mother-
hood, she used to tell her sons that her birthday fell on All
But it appears that all the saints were not present at the
baby's birth. Else the child's father might have been res-
cued from the demon of strong drink — the child herself
might have been blessed with a strong body as a fit abode
for her spirit — and she might have been protected from the
silly women who named her !
Chloe Angeline ! Think of it ! The name Angeline alone
might do. Chloe might do; for, altho' unheard of in the
Cook and Stickney families, it belonged to the good woman
who nursed the child's mother. But Chloe Angeline! — the
second name borrowed from a cheap novel current in those
days! What's in a name? In this case this much: Proof
that the father's standing in his own family was lost. His
eldest daughter was named Charlotte, the third one Mary —
the same sensible names as were borne by two of his sisters
The Fatherless Child. 21
in New Hampshire. Apparently the defenceless babe was a
fatherless child from the day of birth.
Rough and crude was the civilization into which she was
born. Bears still haunted the woods and gathered black-
berries in the more remote fields. In a deep ravine Ange-
line's sister Elmina encountered a wild-cat. Matches were
not yet in use. Spinning-wheel and household loom sup-
plied the farmer's homespun clothing. For salt Grandfather
Cook drove sixty miles to Syracuse. Bigoted religion was
rampant, with forenoon and afternoon services, and a five-
mile drive in Grandfather's wagon. Aunt Clary Downs,
one of Elisha Cook's daughters, kept a dream-book ; and his
mother in her old age used to protect parties of young peo-
ple from witches. Singing schools flourished. Elmina
Stickney, herself a good singer, was won by David, not the
sweet singer of Israel, but David Cooley, sweet singer of
Rodman. Education was dispensed in the brutal, old-fash-
ioned way. For example, a teacher in those parts invented
the fiendish punishment of piercing the lip of an offending
pupil with a needle. Elisha, a weak-minded boy who lived
at Angeline's, was flogged within an inch of his life for
cutting up and hiding the school-mistress's cowhide. Two
school supervisors were present at this flogging. The school-
mistress would ply her punishment until exhausted; then
rest, and go at it again. Small wonder that Elisha survived
the beating only a year or two.
Angeline's oldest sister, Charlotte, married young. There
were no brothers or father, so that the mother and four
young daughters were thrown upon their own resources.
Grandfather Cook, who lived half a mile up the road, was
their kindly protector. But from the beginning the sisters
22 An Astronomer's Wife.
learned to look out for themselves and one another. It must
have been a quiet household, saddened by the thought of the
absent father, and much too feminine. For one thing I am
very grateful : the mother did not whip the obedient, sensi-
tive little Angeline.
Angeline was a very solemn little girl, happy at times,
with a sort of saintly happiness, but never merry. Perhaps
too many of the saints had watched over her nativity. Had
some little red devil been present he might have saved the
situation. Had her cousin Orville Gilman, son of the rene-
gade Daniel, only appeared upon the scene to inform the
company that Elisha Cook's hens, of New England ances-
try, were stalking about crying, " Cut-cut-cut-Connecticut " !
At three years of age Angeline began to attend district
school. At five she was spinning flax. As a little girl,
watching her mother at work, she wondered at the chemis-
try of cooking. At nine she had read a church history
through. At twelve she was an excellent housekeeper, big
enough to be sent for to help her sister Charlotte keep
tavern. So from her earliest years she was a student and
worker. She had some playmates, her life-long friends, and
she enjoyed some sober pleasures. But the healthy enjoy-
ment of healthy, vigorous childhood she missed — was fright-
ened nearly out of her wits listening to the fearful stories
told about the fireside — and broke her leg sliding down hill
when she was eight years old. The victim of a weak
stomach, coarse fare did not agree with her ; and again and
again she vomited up the salt pork some well-meaning friend
had coaxed her to eat. But she accepted her lot patiently
and reverently; and after the cold dreary winters one blade
of green grass would make her happy all day long.
The Fatherless Child. 23
She really did enjoy life intensely, in her quiet way, and
no doubt felt very rich sometimes. There were the wild
strawberries down in the meadow and by the roadside, rasp-
berries and blackberries in abundance, and in the woods
bunch-berries, pigeon-berries, and wintergreen. The flowers
of wood and field were a pure delight, spontaneous and gen-
uine; and to the end of her days wild rose and liverwort
sent a thrill of joy to her heart. She and her sister Ruth,
three years younger, were inseparable companions. Near
the house was the mouth of a deep ravine — or gulf, as it is
called in Rodman — and here the little sisters played beside
the brook and hunted the first spring flowers. Still nearer
was a field filled with round bowlders, a delightful place to
play house. Across the road was a piece of woods where
the cows were pastured, and whither the sisters would go
to gather hemlock knots for their mother.
The house stood upon a knoll commanding a pleasant
landscape; and from high ground near by the blue waters
of Lake Ontario could be seen. The skies of Jefferson
County are as clear as those of Italy, and in the summer
Angeline lived out of doors in God's temple, the blue vault
above, and all around the incense of trees and grasses.
Little she cared if her mother's house was small; for from
the doorstep, or from the roof of the woodhouse, where she
used to sit, she beheld beauty and grandeur hidden from eyes
less clear. Nor was she content simply to dream her child-
hood's dream. The glory of her little world was an inspira-
tion. Ambition was born in her, and she used to say,
quaintly enough, " You may hear of me through the papers
In the summer of 1841 Elisha Cook closed his brave blue
eyes in death ; and the following winter a letter came to the
Rodman postmaster saying that a man by the name of The-
ophilus Stickney had died on the 14th of February in the
hospital at Rochester. So the Stickney girls were doubly
orphans. Elmina married, and Angeline went to live with
her sister Charlotte in the town of Wilna. How dark the
forests on the road to Wilna that December day! Forty
years afterward Angeline used to tell of that ride with Ed-
win Ingalls, Charlotte's husband. With his cheery voice he
tried to dispel her fears, praising his horses in homely rhyme :
They're true blue,
They'll carry us through.
Edwin Ingalls was a wiry little man, a person of character
and thrift, like his good wife Charlotte ; for such they proved
themselves when in after years they settled in Wisconsin,
pioneers of their own day and generation. In December,
1842, they kept tavern, and a prime hostess was Charlotte
Ingalls, broiling her meats on a spit before a great open fire
in the good old-fashioned way. Angeline attended school,
taught by Edwin Ingalls, and found time out of school hours
to study natural philosophy besides. Indeed, the little girl
very early formed the habit of reading, showing an especial
Lady Angeline. 25
fondness for history. And when news came the next Spring
of her mother's marriage to a Mr. Milton Woodward, she
was ready with a quotation from " The Lady of the Lake " :
.... Woe the while
That brought such wanderer to our isle.
The quotation proved altogether appropriate. Mr. Wood-
ward was a strong-willed widower with five strong-willed
sons and five strong-willed daughters. The next four years
Angeline was a sort of white slave in this family of wrang-
ling brothers and sisters. When her sister Charlotte in-
quired how she liked her new home, her answer was simply,
" Ma's there."
The story of this second marriage of Electa Cook's is
worthy of record. Any impatience toward her first husband
of which she may have been guilty was avenged upon her a
hundred-fold. And yet the second marriage was a church
affair. Mr. Woodward saw her at church and took a fancy
to her. Had the minister intercede for him. " It will make
a home for you, Mrs. Stickney," said the minister — as if
she were not the mistress of seventy-two acres in her own
right! Why she gave up her independence it is difficult to
see ; but the ways of women are past finding out. Perhaps
she sympathized with the ten motherless Woodward children.
Perhaps she loved Mr. Milton Woodward, for he was a man
of violent temper, and sometimes abused her in glorious
fashion. At the very outset, he opposed her bringing her
unmarried daughters to his house. She insisted ; but might
more wisely have yielded the point. For two of the daugh-
ters married their step-brothers, and shared the Woodward
26 An Astronomer's Wife.
Twelve-year old Angeline went to work very industriously
at the Woodward farm on Dry Hill. What the big, strapping
Woodward girls could have been doing it is hard to say —
wholly occupied with finding husbands, perhaps. For until
1847 Angeline was her mother's chief assistant, at times do-
ing most of the housework herself. She baked for the large
family, mopped floors, endured all sorts of drudgery, and
even waded through the snow to milk cows. But with it all
she attended school, and made great progress. She liked
grammar and arithmetic, and on one occasion showed her
ability as a speller by spelling down the whole school. She
even went to singing school, and sang in the church choir.
Some of the envious Woodward children ridiculed the hard-
working, ambitious girl by calling her " Lady Angeline," a
title which she lived up to from that time forth.
Let me reproduce here two of her compositions, written
when she was fourteen years of age. They are addressed
as letters to her teacher, Mr. George Waldo:
Rodman, January 21st 1845
Sir As you have requested me to write and have given me the
subjects upon which to write, I thought I would try to write what
I could about the Sugar Maple. The Sugar Maple is a very beautiful
as well as useful tree. In the summer the beasts retire to its kind
shade from the heat of the sun. And though the lofty Oak and pine
tower above it, perhaps they are no more useful. Sugar is made
from the sap of this tree, which is a very useful article. It is also
used for making furniture such as tables bureaus &c and board's for
various uses. It is also used to cook Our victuals and to keep us
warm. But its usefulness does not stop here even the ashes are use-
ful ; they are used for making potash which with the help of flint or
sand and a good fire to melt it is made into glass which people could
not very well do without, glass is good to help the old to see and to
give light to our houses. Besides all this teliscopes are made of
Lady Angeline. 27
glass by the help of which about all the knowledge of the mighty
host of planetary worlds has been discovered. This tree is certainly
very useful, in the first place sugar is made from it. Then it gives
us all sorts of beautiful furniture. Then it warms our houses and
cooks our victuals and then even then we get something from the
ashes yes something very useful. No more at present.
I wish there was a good deal more. This is well written. Write
more next time.
The next composition is as follows :
Rodman February 17th 1845
Slavery or holding men in bondage is one of the most unjust
practicees. But unjust as it is even in this boasted land of liberty
many of our greatest men are dealers in buying and selling slaves.
Were you to go to the southern states you would see about every
dwelling surrounded by plantations on which you would see the half
clothed and half starved slave and his master with whip in hand
ready to inflict the blow should the innocent child forgetful of the
smart produced by the whip pause one moment to hear the musick
of the birds inhale the odor of the flowers or through fatigue should
let go his hold from the hoe. And various other scenes that none
but the hardest hearted could behold without dropping a tear of pity
for the fate of the slave would present themselves probably you
would see the slave bound in chains and the driver urging him on-
ward while every step he takes is leading him farther and farther
from his home and all that he holds dear. But I hope these cruelties
will soon cease as many are now advocating the cause of the slave. But
still there are many that forget that freedom is as dear to the slave
as to the master, whose fathers when oppressed armed in defence of
liberty and with Washington at their head gained it. But to their
shame they still hold slaves. But some countries have renounced
slavery and I hope their example will be followed by own
28 An Astronomer's Wife.
I hope so too. And expect it also. When men shall learn to do
unto others as they themselves wish to be done unto. And not only
say but do and that more than half as they say. Then we may
hope to see the slave Liberated, and not till then. Write again.
The composition on slavery (like the mention of the tele-
scope) is in the nature of a prophecy, for our astronomer's
wife during her residence of thirty years in Washington was
an unfailing friend of the negro. Many a Northerner, com-
ing into actual contact with the black man, has learned to
despise him more than Southerners do. Not so Angeline.
The conviction of childhood, born of reading church litera-
ture on slavery and of hearing her step-father's indignant
words on the subject — for he was an ardent abolitionist —
lasted through life.
In the fall of 1847 the ambitious school-girl had a stroke
of good fortune. Her cousin Harriette Downs, graduate of
a young ladies' school in Pittsfield, Mass., took an interest in
her, and paid her tuition for three terms at the Rodman
Union Seminary. So Angeline worked for her board at her
Aunt Clary Downs', a mile and a half from the seminary,
and walked to school every morning. A delightful walk in
autumn ; but when the deep snows came, it was a dreadful
task to wade through the drifts. Her skirts would get wet,
and she took a severe cold. She never forgot the hardships
of that winter. The next winter she lived in Rodman vil-
lage, close to the seminary, working for her board at a Mr.
Wood's, where on Monday mornings she did the family
washing before school began. How thoroughly she enjoyed
the modest curriculum of studies at the seminary none can
tell save those who have worked for an education as hard
Lady Angeline. 29
as she did. That she was appreciated and beloved by her
schoolmates may be inferred from the following extracts
from a letter dated Henderson, Jefferson Co., N. Y., Jan-
uary 9, 1848 :
Our folks say they believe you are perfect or I would not say so
much about you. They would like to have you come out here &
stay a wek, they say but not half as much as I would I dont believe.
come come come Your letter I have read over & over again,
ther seems to be such a smile. It seems just like you. I almost im-
magin I can see you & hear you talk while I am reading your letter.
. . Those verses were beautiful, they sounded just lik you
Good Night for I am shure you will say you never saw such a
boched up mess
I ever remain your sincere friend
E. A. Bulfinch.
No doubt as to the genuineness of this document ! Ange-
line had indeed begun to write verses — and as a matter of
interest rather than as an example of art, I venture to quote
the following lines, written in October, 1847 :
Farewell, a long farewell, to thee sweet grove,
To thy cool shade and grassy seat I love;
Farewell, for the autumnal breeze is sighing
Among thy boughs, and low thy leaves are lying.
Farewell, farewell, until another spring
Rolls round again, and thy sweet bowers ring
With song of birds, and wild flowers spring,
And on the gentle breeze their odors fling.
Farewell, perhaps I ne'er again may view
Thy much-loved haunt, so then a sweet adieu.
In the North teaching follows schooling almost as a matter
of course. In 1848 Angeline Stickney began to teach the
district school in Heath Hollow, nead Rodman, for a dol-
lar and a quarter a week and board. The same year she
taught also at Pleasant Valley, near Cape Vincent, whither
Edwin Ingalls had moved. Angeline boarded with her
sister and spun her wool. Would that some artist had
painted this nineteenth century Priscilla at the spinning-
wheel ! For the next nine years, that is, until a year after her
marriage, she was alternately teacher and pupil. In the win-
ter of 1849-50 she tutored in the family of Elder Bright, who
six years later, in Wisconsin, performed her marriage cere-
mony. In the winter of 1850-51 she attended the semi-
nary at Rodman, together with her sister Ruth.
An excellent teacher always, she won the respect and affec-
tion of her pupils. After her death a sturdy farmer of Rod-
man told me, with great feeling, how much he liked the
patient teacher. He was a dull boy, and found many perplex-
ities in arithmetic, which Miss Stickney carefully explained.
And so she became the boy's ideal woman. Very seldom
did she have to resort to punishment, but when punishment
was necessary she did not flinch. The same might be said
of her in the rearing of her four sons. Her gentleness,
Teaching School. 31
l 1 J
united to a resolute will and thorough goodness of heart,
made obedience to her word an acknowledged and sacred
The following fragment of a letter, written after she had
begun her college course at McGrawville, gives a glimpse of
her at this period :
Watertown Nov. 27th '52
.... it is half past eight A. M. there is one small scholar here.
I have had but fourteen scholars yet, but expect more next week.
Sister Ruth teaches in the district adjoining this. I see her often,
have been teaching two weeks. I do not have a very good oppor-
tunity for studying, or reciting. There is a gentleman living about a
mile and a half from me to whom I suppose I might recite, but the
road is bad and so I have to content myself without a teacher, and I
fear I shall not make much progress in my studies this winter.
Saturday Dec 4th. . . I do not teach to-day, so I started off in
the rain this morning to come and see Sister Ruth. It is about a
mile and a half across through swamp and woods, but I had a very
fine walk after all. I had to climb a hill on the way, that may well
vie in height with the hills of McGrawville, and the prospect from its
summit is the finest I ever saw. Sister saw me coming and came
running to meet me and now we are sitting side by side in her
school room with none to molest us I board around the dis-
trict. . . . Oh! how I long for a quiet little room, where I might
write and study
Let me add here an extract from a brief diary kept in
1851, which illustrates a phase of her character hardly
noticed thus far. She was, like the best young women of
her day and generation, intensely religious — even morbidly
so, perhaps. But as sincerity is the saving grace of all relig-
ions, we may forgive her maidenly effusion :
Monday June 2 David came and brought me down to school to
day. When I came to dinner found uncle Cook at Mr. Moffatts.
32 An Astronomer's Wife.
Think I shall attend prayer meeting this evening. I love these
prayer meetings. Mr. Spear always there with something beautiful
and instructive to say. And the Savior always there to bless us,
and to strengthen us. And I feel I am blessed and profited every
time that I attend. Tuesday June 3rd Feel sad this evening, have
a hard headache pain in the chest, and cough some. Think Con-
sumption's meagre hand is feeling for my heart strings. Oh that I
may be spared a little longer, though unworthy of life on earth and
how much more unfit to live in Heaven. Oh Heavenly Father wash
me clean in the blood of thy precious son, and fit me for life, or
death. I have desired to get for me a name that would not be for-
gotten, when my body was moldered into dust. Vain desire ! better
to have a name in the Lambs Book of Life. Earth may forget me,
but Oh my Savior! do not Thou forget me and I shall be satisfied.
Wednesday June 4th I am sitting now by my chamber window,
have been gazing on the beautiful clouds of crimson and purple, that
are floating in the bright west. How beautiful is our world now in
this sweet month, beautiful flowers beautiful forests, beautiful fields,
beautiful birds, and murmuring brooks and rainbows and clouds and
then again the clear blue sky without clouds or rainbows, or stars,
smiling in its own calm loveliness Oh yes ! this Earth is beautiful,
and so exquisitely beautiful that I sometimes feel that there is in it
enough of beauty to feast my eyes forever. Do not feel quite so
badly this evening as I did last, yet I by no means feel welL
AN OLD DAGUERREOTYPE
THE NEXT STEP.
" Do the next thing " — such is the sage advice of some
practical philosopher. Had Angeline Stickney failed to
keep advancing she would have sunk into obscurity, as her
sisters did, and this story could not have been written. But
ambition urged her forward, in spite of the morbid religious
scruples that made ambition a sin; and she determined to
continue her education. For some time she was undecided
whether to go to Albany, or to Oberlin, or to McGrawville.
If she went to Albany, board would cost her two dollars a
week— more than she could well afford. Besides, Ruth
could not accompany her. So she finally chose McGrawville
— where both sisters together lived on the incredibly small
sum of one dollar a week — fifty cents for a room and twenty-
five cents each for provisions. As we shall see, she met her
future husband at McGrawville; and so it was not an alto-
gether miserly or unkind fate that led her thither.
She was determined to go to college, and to have Ruth go
with her. We may laugh at the means she employed to
raise funds, but we must respect the determination. The
idea of a young woman's going about the country teaching
monochromatic painting, and the making of tissue-paper
flowers! Better to take in washing. And yet there could
have been no demand for a professional washerwoman in
34 An Astronomer's Wife.
that part of the country. Indeed, Ruth and Angeline had
many a discussion of the money problem. One scheme that
suggested itself — whether in merriment or in earnest I can-
not say — was to dress like men and go to work in some fac-
tory. In those days women's wages were absurdly small;
and the burden of proof and of prejudice rested on the young
woman who maintained her right to go to college. They
saved what they could from their paltry women's wages, and
upon these meagre savings, after all, they finally depended;
for the monochromatic painting and the tissue-paper flowers
supplied nothing more substantial than a little experience.
The following extracts from the second and last journal
kept by Angeline Stickney need no explanation. The little
book itself is mutely eloquent. It is hand-made, and consists
of some sheets of writing paper cut to a convenient size and
stitched together, with a double thickness of thin brown
wrapping paper for a cover.
Thursday [Jan. 8, 1852] I intended to go to Lockport to
teach painting to-day, but the stage left before I was ready to go, so
I came back home. Ruth and I had our daguerreotypes taken to-day.
David here when we arrived at home to carry Ruth to her school.
Friday, Ian. 9th Today Mr. Vandervort came up after the horses
and sleigh to go to Mr. Losea's. He said he would carry me to
Watertown and I could take the stage for Lockport, but the stage
had left about half an hour before we arrived there, so Mr. Vander-
vort said he would bring me up in the evening. We started after
tea and arrived here in safety, but too late to do anything towards
getting a class. Sat., Jan. loth Mr. Granger the landlord told me
I had better go and get Miss Cobe to assist me in getting a class.
She called with me at several places. Did not get much encourage-
ment, so I thought best to go to Felts Mills in the afternoon.
Tavern bill 3 shillings, fare from Lockport to the Mills 2 s. Arrived
at the Mills about 1 o'clock. Proceeded directly to the village school
The Next Step. 35
to see if any of the scholars wished to take lessons. Found two of
them that would like to take lessons. Called at several places. Met
with some encouragement. Sunday, nth. Went to church in the
afternoon. Very noisy here. Not much appearance of being the
Sabbath. Monday, 12th. Concluded not to stay at the Mills. Found
but three scholars there. So in the afternoon I came up to the
Great Bend. Several called this evening to see my paintings. Tues-
day. Very stormy. Went to the school to see if any of the scholars
wished to take lessons in painting. Found none. Thought I would
not stay there any longer. So when the stage came along in the
afternoon I got on board, and thought I would stop at Antwerp, but
on arriving there found that the stage was going to Ogdensburgh
this evening. Thought I would come as far as Gouverneur. Arrived
at Gouverneur about 9 o'clock. Put up at the Van Buren Hotel.
Wednesday 14. Quite stormy, so that I could not get out much, but
went to Elder Sawyer's and' to Mr. Fox's. Mr. Clark, the principal
of the Academy, carried the paintings to the hall this afternoon so
that the pupils might see them. Brought them to me after school
and said he would let me know next day whether any of the scholars
wished to take lessons. I am almost discouraged, yet will wait with
patience the decisions of to-morrow. Thursday. Pleasant day.
Mr. Clark came down this morning. Said Miss Wright, the precep-
tress, would like to take lessons; and I found several others that
thought they would take lessons. Found a boarding place at Mr.
Horr's. The family consists of Mr. and Mrs. Horr and their two
daughters, hired girl and a little girl that they have adopted, and
seven boarders, besides myself. Sunday, February 8th. Have been
to church to-day. Eld'. Sawyer preached in the forenoon. Com-
munion this afternoon. Went to prayer meeting this evening. Mon-
day, 9th. Went to Mr. Fox's to-day to give Miss Goddard a lesson
in painting. Miss Wright also takes lessons. Tues., 10th. This has
been a beautiful day. Spring is coming again. I hear her sweet
voice, floating on the south wind, and the sound of her approaching
footsteps comes from the hills. Have given Miss Goddard two les-
sons in painting to-day. Wednesday, Feb. 18th. Have packed my
trunk and expect to leave Gouverneur to-morrow morning. Have
received two letters to-day, one from Mrs. Shea, and one from
36 An Astronomer's Wife.
Ehnina and Ruth. Have settled with all my scholars and with Mrs.
Horr. Have eighteen dollars and a half left. Thursday, 19th.
Left Mr. Horr's this morning for Antwerp. Fare from Gouverneur
to Antwerp five shillings. Have endeavored to get a class here to-
day. Think I shall not succeed. Fare and bill 7 and 6. Friday,
20th. Came to North Wilna to-day. Left my trunk at Mr. Brewer's
and came down to Mr. Gibbs'. Found Mr. Gibbs, Electa and
Miranda at home. It was seven years last October since I
left North Wilna, yet it looks quite natural here Thurs-
day, March 4th. Frederick came and brought me to Philadel-
phia to-day. Am stopping at Mr. Kirkbride's. Think I shall get
something of a class here. Friday. Have been trying to get a
class. Think I shall get a class in flowers. Have $15 with me now.
Sat., 6th. Think I shall not succeed in forming a class here. The
young ladies seem to have no time or money to spend except for
leap year rides. Sunday, Jth Went to the Methodist church this
forenoon. Mr. Blanchard preached. The day is very beautiful, such
a day as generally brings joy and gladness to my heart, but yet I am
rather sad. I would like to sit down a little while with Miss An-
nette and Eleanor Wright to read Mrs. Hemans. Those were gol-
den moments that I spent with them, and with Miss Ann in Gouver-
neur. Sunday, Apr. 4th. It is now four weeks since I have written
a word in my journal. Did not get a class in Philadelphia, so I went
down to Evans Mills. Stayed there two days but did not succeed
in forming a class there, so I thought best to go to Watertown.
Fare at Mr. Kirkbride's 6 s at Mr. Brown's $1. From Evans Mills
to Watertown $0.50. Came up to Rutland Village Wednesday even-
ing, fare 3 s. Went to Mrs. Staplin's Tuesday. There was some
prospect of getting a class there. Taught Charlotte to paint and
Albina to make flowers. Came to Champion Friday March 26th to
see if I could get a class here. Went back to Mrs. Staplin's Friday
evening. The next Monday evening Mr. K. Jones came and brought
me up here again. Commenced teaching Wednesday the last day of
March. Have four scholars, Miss C. Johnson, Miss C. Hubbard,
Miss Mix, and Miss A. Babcock. Have attended church to-day.
Mr. Bosworth preached. Am boarding at Mr. Babcock's. There is
some snow on the ground yet, and it is very cold for the season.
The Xext Step. 37
McGrawvMe, May 5th, Wed. evening. Yes, I am in McGrawviDe
at last and Ruth is with me. We left home for this place Apr. 22nd.
Came on the cars as far as Syracuse Took the stage there for
Cortland. Arrived at Cortland about ten in the evening. Stayed
there over night Xext morning about 8 o'clock started for McG.
Arrived here about nine.
Saturday, Sept. i~ *5J. 'What a long time has elapsed since I have
written one word in my journal. Resolve now to note down here
whatever transpires of importance to me. Am again at McGraw-
viDe after about one year's absence. Arrived here Tuesday morning.
To-day have entered the junior year in New York Central College.
This day may be one of the most important in my Hfe.
Monday. Sept. nth, 1854. To-day have commenced my Senior
year, at New York Central College. My studies are: Calculus;
Philosophy, Natural and Mental; Greek, Homer. What rainbow
hopes cluster around this year.
New York Central College, at McGrawville, Cortland
County, seems to have been the forerunner of Cornell Uni-
versity. Anybody, white or black, man or woman, could
study there. It was a stronghold of reform in general and
of abolition in particular, numbering among its patrons such
men as John Pierpont, Gerrit Smith, and Horace Greeley.
The college was poor, and the number of students small —
about ninety in the summer of 1852, soon after Angeline
Stickney's arrival. Of this number some were fanatics,
many were idealists of exceptionally high character, and
some were merely befriended by idealists, their chief virtue
being a black skin. A motley group, who cared little for
classical education, and everything for political and social
reforms. Declamation and debate and the preparation of
essays and orations were the order of the day — as was only
natural among a group of students who felt that the world
awaited the proper expression of their doctrines. And in
justice be it said, the number of patriotic men and women
sent out by this little college might put to shame the well-
endowed and highly respectable colleges of the country.
Angeline Stickney entered fully into the spirit of the place.
In a letter written in December, 1852, she said :
I feel very much attached to that institution, notwithstanding all
its faults, and I long to see it again, for its foundation rests on the
College Days. 39
basis of Eternal Truth — and my heart strings are twined around its
To suit her actions to her words, she became a woman
suffragist and adopted the "bloomer" costume. It was
worth something in those early days to receive, as she did,
letters from Susan B. Anthony and Horace Greeley. Of
that hard-hitting Unitarian minister and noble poet, John
Pierpont, she wrote, at the time of her graduation :
The Rev. John Pierpont is here. He preached in the chapel Sun-
day forenoon. He is a fine looking man. I wish you could see him.
He is over seventy years old, hut is as straight as can be, and his
face is as fresh as a young man's.
Little did she dream that this ardent patriot would one day
march into Washington at the head of a New Hampshire
regiment, and break bread at her table. Nor could she fore-
see that her college friends Oscar Fox and A. J. Warner
would win laurels on the battlefields of Bull Run and Antie-
tam, vindicating their faith with their blood. Both giants in
stature, Captain Fox carried a minie-ball in his breast for
forty years, and Colonel Warner, shot through the hip, was
saved by a miracle of surgery. Of her classmates — there
were only four, all men, who graduated with her — she
I think I have three as noble class-mates as you will find in any
College, they are Living Men.
It is amusing to turn from college friends to college
studies — such a contrast between the living men and their
academic labors. For example, Angeline Stickney took the
degree of A. B. in July, 1855, having entered college, with a
modest preparation, in April, 1852, and having been absent
about a year, from November, 1852 to September, 1853,
40 An Astronomer's Wife.
when she entered the Junior Class. It is recorded that she
studied Virgil the summer of 1852; the fall of 1853, Ger-
man, Greek, and mathematical astronomy; the next term,
Greek and German; and the next term, ending July 12, 1854,
Greek, natural philosophy, German and surveying. She be-
gan her senior year with calculus, philosophy, natural and
mental, and Anthon's Homer, and during that year studied
also Wayland's Political Economy and Butler's Analogy.
She is also credited with work done in declamation and com-
position, and " two orations performed." Her marks, as far
as my incomplete records show, were all perfect, save that
for one term she was marked 98 per cent in Greek. Upon
the credit slip for the last term her " standing " is marked
" 1 " ; and her " conduct " whenever marked is always 100.
However, be it observed that Angeline Stickney not only
completed the college curriculum at McGrawville, but also
taught classes in mathematics. In fact, her future husband
was one of her pupils, and has borne witness that she was
a " good, careful teacher."
If McGrawville was not distinguished for high thinking,
it could at least lay claim to plain living. Let us inquire into
the ways and means of the Stickney sisters. I have already
stated that board and lodging cost the two together only one
dollar a week. They wrote home to their mother, soon after
their arrival :
We are situated in the best place possible for studying domestic
economy. We bought a quart of milk, a pound of crackers, and a
sack of flour this morning.
Tuition for a term of three months was only five dollars ;
and poor students were encouraged to come and earn their
way through college. Ruth returned home after one term,
College Days. 41
and Angeline worked for her board at a Professor Kingley's,
getting victuals, washing dishes, and sweeping. Even so,
after two terms her slender means were exhausted, and she
went home to teach for a year. Returning to college in
September, 1853, s he completed the course in two years,
breaking down at last for lack of recreation and nourish-
ment. Ruth returned to McGrawville in 1854, and wrote
home : " found Angie well and in good spirits. We are
going to board ourselves at Mr. Smith's." And Angeline
herself wrote : " My health has been quite good ever since
I came here. It agrees with me to study We have a
very pleasant boarding place, just far enough from the col-
lege for a pleasant walk."
Angeline was not selfishly ambitious, but desired her
sister's education as well as her own. Before the bar of her
Puritanical conscience she may have justified her own ambi-
tion by being ambitious for her sister. In the fall of 1853
she wrote to Ruth :
I hope you will make up your mind to come out here to school
next spring. You can go through college as well as I. As soon as I
get through I will help you. You can go through the scientific
course, I should think, in two years after next spring term if you
should come that term. Then we would be here a year together, and
you would get a pretty good start. There seems to be a way open-
ing for me to get into good business as soon as I get through college.
And again, in January, 1854 :
Ruth, I believe I am more anxious to have you come to school than
I ever was before. I see how much it will increase your influence,
and suffering humanity calls for noble spirits to come to its aid'.
And I would like to have you fitted for an efficient laborer. I know
you have intellect, and I would have it disciplined and polished.
Come and join the little band of reformers here, will you not? I
42 An Astronomer's Wife.
want your society. Sometimes I get very lonely here, and I never
should, if you were only here. Tell me in your next letter that you
will come. I will help you all I can in every thing.
But Ruth lacked her sister's indomitable will. She loved
her, and wished to be with her, whether at home or at col-
lege. Indeed, in a letter to Angeline she said she would
tease very hard to have her come home, did she not realize
how her heart was set upon getting an education. Ruth did
return to McGrawville in 1854, but remained only two
months, on account of poor health. The student fare did not
agree with the vigorous Ruth, apparently ; and she now gave
up further thought of college, and generously sought to help
her sister what she could financially.
Though a dime at McGrawville was equivalent to a dol-
lar elsewhere, Angeline was much cramped for money, and
to complete her course was obliged finally to borrow fifty
dollars from her cousin Joseph Downs, giving her note pay-
able in one year. When her breakdown came, six weeks be-
fore graduation, Ruth, like a good angel, came and took her
home. It was a case of sheer exhaustion, aggravated by a
tremendous dose of medicine administered by a well-meaning
friend. Though she returned to McGrawville and graduated
with her class, even producing a sorry sort of poem for the
commencement exercises, it was two or three years before
she regained her health. Such was a common experience
among ambitious American students fifty years ago, before
the advent of athletics and gymnasiums.
In closing this chapter, I will quote a character sketch
written by one of Angeline's classmates :
Slate Pencil Sketches — No. 2. L. A. C — and C. A. Stickney. Miss
C — is Professor of Rhetoric, and Miss Stickney is a member of the
College Days. 43
Senior Class, in N. Y. Central College. A description of their per-
sonal appearance may not be allowable; besides it could not be
attracting, since the element of Beauty would not enter largely into
the sketch. Both are fortunately removed to a safe distance from
Beauty of the Venus type ; though the truth may not be quite apparent,
because the adornments of mind by the force of association have
thrown around them the Quakerish veil of good looks (to use mod-
erate terms), which answers every desirable end of the most charm-
ing attractions, besides effectually saving both from the folly of
Pride. Nevertheless, the writer of this sketch can have no earthly
object in concealing his appreciation of the high brow, and Nym-
phean make of the one, and the lustrous eye of the other.
And these personal characteristics are happily suggestive of the
marked mental traits of each. The intellect of the one is subtle,
apprehensive, flexible, docile; with an imagination gay and discur-
sive, loving the sentimental for the beauty of it. The intellect of the
other is strong and comprehensive, with an imagination ardent and
glowing, inclined perhaps to the sentimental, but ashamed to own it.
However, let these features pass for the moment until we have
brought under review some other more obvious traits of character.
Miss C — , or if you will allow me to throw aside the Miss and the
Surname, and say Lydia and Angeline, who will complain? Lydia,
then, is possessed of a good share of self-reliance — self-reliance aris-
ing from a rational self-esteem. Whether Angeline possesses the
power of a proper self-appreciation or not, she is certainly wanting
in self-reliance. She may manifest much confidence on occasions,
but it is all acquired confidence; while with Lydia, it is all natural.
From this difference spring other differences. Lydia goes forward
in public exercises as though the public were her normal sphere. On
the other hand Angeline frequently appears embarrassed, though her
unusual powers of mil never suffer her to make a failure. Lydia
is ambitious; though she pursues the object of her ambition in a
quiet, complacent way, and appropriates it when secured all as a
matter of course. It is possible with Angeline to be ambitious, but
not at once — and never so naturally. Her ambition is born of many-
yeared wishes — wishes grounded mainly in the moral nature, cher-
ished by friendly encouragements, ripening at last into a settled pur-
44 An Astronomer's Wife.
pose. Thus springs up her ambition, unconfessed — its triumph
doubted even in the hour of fruition.
When I speak of the ambition of these two, I hope to be under-
stood as meaning ambition with its true feminine modifications.
And this is the contrast: — The ambition of the one is a necessity of
her nature, the ripening of every hour's aspiration; while the ambi-
tion of the other is but the fortunate afterthought of an unsophisti-
Both the subjects of this sketch excel in prose and poetic compo-
sition. Each may rightfully lay claim to the name of poetess. But
Lydia is much the better known in this respect. Perhaps the con-
stitution of her mind inclines her more strongly to employ the
ornaments of verse, in expressing her thoughts; and perhaps the
mind of Angeline has been too much engrossed in scientific studies
to allow of extensive English reading, or of patient efforts at elab-
oration. Hence her productions reveal the poet only; while those of
her friend show both the poet and the artist. In truth, Lydia is by
nature far more artificial than Angeline — perhaps I should have said
artistic. Every line of her composition reveals an effort at orna-
ment. The productions of Angeline impress you with the idea that the
author must have had no foreknowledge of what kind of style would
come of her efforts. Not so with Lydia. Her style is manifestly
Calvinistic; in all its features it bears the most palpable marks of
election and predestination. Its every trait has been subjected to
the ordeal of choice, either direct or indirect. You know it to be a
something developed by constant retouches and successive admix-
tures. Not that it is an imitation of admired authors; yet it is
plainly the result of an imitative nature — a something, not borrowed,
but caught from a world of beauties, just as sometimes a well-defined
thought is the sequence of a thousand flitting conceptions. Her
style is the offspring, the issue of the love, she has cherished for the
beautiful in other minds yet bearing the image of her own.
Not so with Angeline, for there is no imitativeness in her nature.
Her style can arise from no such commerce of mind, but the Spirit
of the Beautiful overshadowing her, it springs up in its singleness,
and its genealogy cannot be traced'.
College Days. 45
But this contrast of style is not the only contrast resulting from
this difference in imitation and in love of ornament. It runs through
all the phases of their character. Especially is it seen in manner,
dress and speech; but in speech more particularly. When Lydia
is in a passage of unimpassioned eloquence, her speech reminds you
that the tongue is Woman's plaything ; while Angeline plies the same
organ with as utilitarian an air as a housewife's churn-dasher. But
pardon this exaggeration: something may be pardoned to the spirit
of liberty; and the writer is aware that he is using great liberties.
To return: Lydia has a fine sense of the ludicrous. Her name
is charmingly appropriate, signifying in the original playful or sport-
ive. Her laughter wells up from within, and gurgles out from the
corners of her mouth. Angeline is but moderately mirthful, and her
laughter seems to come from somewhere else, and shines on the
outside of her face like pale moonlight. In Lydia's mirthfulness
there is a strong tincture of the sarcastic and the droll. Angeline at
the most is only humorous. When a funny thing happens, Lydia
laughs at it — Angeline laughs about it. Lydia might be giggling all
day alone, just at her own thoughts. Angeline I do not believe ever
laughs except some one is by to talk the fun. And in sleep, while
Lydia was dreaming of jokes and quips, Angeline might be fighting
the old Nightmare.
After all, do not understand me as saying that the Professor
C — is always giggling like a school-girl ; or that the Senior Stickney
is apt to be melancholy and down in the mouth. I have tried to
describe their feelings relatively.
Lydia has a strong, active imagination, marked by a vivid playful-
ness of fancy. Her thoughts flow on, earnest, yet sparkling and
flashing like a raven-black eye. Angeline has an imagination that
glows rather than sparkles. It never scintillates, but gradually its
brightness comes on with increasing radiance. If the thoughts of
Lydia flit like fire flies, the thoughts of Angeline unfold like the
blowing rose. If the fancy of one glides like a sylph or tiptoes
like a school-girl, the imagination of the other bears on with more
stateliness, though with less grace. Lydia's imagination takes its
flight up among the stars, it turns, dives, wheels, peers, scrutinizes,
wonders and grows serious and then fearful. But the imagination
46 An Astronomer's Wife.
of the other takes its stand like a maiden by the side of a clear pool,
and gazes down into the depths of Beauty.
Their different gifts befit their different natures. While one revels
in delight, the other is lost in rapture; while one is trembling with
awe, the other is quietly gazing into the mysterious. While one is
worshipping the beautiful, the other lays hold on the sublime.
Beauty is the ideal of the one ; sublimity is the normal sphere of the
other. Both seek unto the spiritual, but through different paths.
When the qualities of each are displayed, the one is a chaste star
shining aloft in the bright skies; the other is a sunset glow, rich as
gold, but garish all around with gray clouds.
It is next in order to examine some of the literary pro-
ductions of Angeline Stickney while at college. Like the
literary remains of Oliver Cromwell, they are of a strange
and uncertain character. It would be easy to make fun of
them ; and yet sincerity is perhaps their chief characteristic.
They are Puritanism brought down to the nineteenth cen-
tury — solemn, absurd, almost maudlin in their religious sen-
timentality, and yet deeply earnest and at times noble. The
manuscripts upon which these literary productions are re-
corded are worn, creased, stained, torn and covered with
writing — bearing witness to the rigid economy practiced by
the writer. The penmanship is careful, every letter clearly
formed, for Angeline Stickney was not one of those vain per-
sons who imagine that slovenly handwriting is a mark of
First, I will quote a passage illustrating the intense loyalty
of our young Puritan to her Alma Mater :
About a year since, I bade adieu to my fellow students here, and
took the farewell look of the loved Alma Mater, Central College.
It was a " longing, lingering look " for I thought it had never
seemed so beautiful as on that morning. The rising sun cast a flood
of golden light upon it making it glow as if it were itself a sun; and
so I thought indeed it was, a sun of truth just risen, a sun that would
48 An Astronomer's Wife.
send forth such floods of light that Error would flee before it and
never dare to come again with its dark wing to brood over our
land: — And every time I have thought of Central College during my
absence, it has come up before me with that halo of golden light
upon it, and then I have had such longings to come and enjoy that
light; and now I have come, and I am glad that I am here. Yes,
I am glad, though I have left my home with all its dear scenes and
loving hearts; I am glad though I know the world will frown upon
me, because I am a student of this unpopular institution, and I ex-
pect to get the name that I have heard applied to all who come here,
" fanatic.'' I am glad that I am here because I love this institution.
I love the spirit that welcomes all to its halls, those of every tongue,
and of every hue, which admits of " no rights exclusive,'' which
holds out the cup of knowledge in it's crystal brightness for all to
quaff ; and if this is fanaticism, I will glory in the name " fanatic."
Let me live, let me die a fanatic. I will not seal up in my heart the
fountain of love that gushes forth for all the human race. And I
am glad I am here because there are none here to say, "thus far thou
mayst ascend the hill of Science and no farther," when I have just
learned how sweet are the fruits of knowledge, and when I can see
them hanging in such rich clusters, far up the heights, looking so
bright and golden, as if they were inviting me to partake. And all
the while I can see my brother gathering those golden fruits, and I
mark how his eye brightens, as he speeds up the shining track, laden
with thousands of sparkling gems and crowned with bright garlands
of laurel, gathered from beside his path. No, there are none here
to whisper, " that is beyond thy sphere, thou couldst never scale
those dizzy heights " ; but, on the contrary, here are kind voices
cheering me onward. I have long yearned for such words of cheer,
and now to hear them makes my way bright and my heart strong.
C. A. Stickney.
Next, behold what a fire-eater this modest young woman
could be :
Yes, let the union be dissolved rather than bow in submission to
such a detestable, abominable, infamous law, a law in derogation of
College Productions. 49
the genius of our free institutions, an exhibition of tyranny and
injustice which might well put to the blush a nation of barbarians.
Ours is called a glorious union. Then is a union of robbers, of
pirates, a glorious union; for to rob a man of liberty is the worst
of robberies, the foulest of piracies. Let us just glance at one of the
terrible features of this law, at the provision which allows to the
commissioner who is appointed to decide upon the future freedom or
slavery of the fugitive the sum of ten dollars if he decides in favor
of his slavery and but five if in favor of freedom. Legislative
bribery striking of hands with the basest iniquity! . . . What are
the evils that can accrue to the nation from a dissolution of the
union? Would such a dissolution harm the North? No. It would
be but a separation from a parasite that is sapping from us our very
life. Would it harm the South? No. Let them stand alone and be
abhorred of all nations, that they may the sooner learn the lesson of
repentance! Would it harm the slave? No. Such a dissolution
would strike the death blow to slavery. Let us look: Deut. 23,
15 & 16: "Thou shalt not deliver over unto his master the servant
which is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with
thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose." — The
law of God against the fugitive slave law. Which shall we obey?
The passages quoted are more fraught with feeling than
any of the rest of the prose selections before me; and I will
pass over most of them, barely mentioning the subjects.
There is a silly and sentimental piece entitled " Mrs. Emily
Judson," in which the demise of the third wife of the famous
missionary is noticed. There is a short piece of argumenta-
tion in behalf of a regulation requiring attendance on public
worship. There is a sophomoric bit of prose entitled " The
Spirit of Song," wherein we have a glimpse of the Garden
of Eden and its happy lovers. There is a piece, without
title, in honor of earth's angels, the noble souls who give
their lives to perishing and oppressed humanity. The fol-
So An Astronomer's Wife.
lowing, in regard to modern poetry, is both true and well
The superficial unchristian doctrine of our day is that poetry
flourishes most in an uncultivated soil, that the imagination shapes
her choicest images from the mists of a superstitious age. The
materials of poetry must ever remain the same and inexhaustible.
Poetry has its origin in the nature of man, in the deep and mysterious
recesses of the human soul. It is not the external only, but the inner
life, the. mysterious workmanship of man's heart and the slumbering
elements of passion which furnish the materials of poetry.
Finally, because of the subject, I quote the following:
The study of Astronomy gives us the most exalted views of the
Creator, and it exalts ourselves also, and binds our souls more
closely to the soul of the Infinite. What wonders does it reveal!
It teaches that the earth, though it seem so immovable, not only
turns on its axis, but goes sweeping round a great circle whose miles
are counted by millions; and though it seem so huge, with its
wide continents and vast oceans, it is but a speck when compared
with the manifold works of God. It teaches the form, weight, and
motion of the earth, and then it bids us go up and weigh and meas-
ure the sun and planets and solve the mighty problems of their
motion. But it stops not here. It bids us press upward beyond the
boundary of our little system of worlds up to where the star-gems
lie glowing in the great deep of heaven. And then we find that these
glittering specks are vast suns, pressing on in their shining courses,
sun around sun, and system around system, in harmony, in beauty,
in grandeur ; and as we view them spread out in their splendour and
infinity, we pause to think of Him who has formed them, and we
feel his greatness and excellence and majesty, and' in contemplating
Him, the most sublime object in the universe, our own souls are
expanded, and filled with awe and reverence and love. And they
long to break through their earthly prison-house that they may go
forth on their great mission of knowledge, and rising higher and
higher into the heavens they may at last bow in adoration and wor-
ship before the throne of the Eternal.
College Productions. 51
To complete this study of Angeline Stickney's college
writings, it is necessary, though somewhat painful, to quote
specimens of her poetry. For example :
There was worship in Heaven. An angel choir,
On many and many a golden lyre
Was hymning its praise. To the strain sublime
With the beat of their wings that choir kept time.
etc., etc., etc.
One is tempted to ask maliciously, " Moulting time ? "
Here is another specimen, of which no manuscript copy is
in existence, its preservation being due to the loving admira-
tion of Ruth Stickney, who memorized it :
Clouds, ye are beautiful ! I love to gaze
Upon your gorgeous hues and varying forms,
When lighted with the sun of noon-day's blaze,
Or when ye are darkened with the blackest storms.
etc., etc., etc.
Next, consider this rather morbidly religious effusion in
blank verse :
I see thee Teaching forth thy hand to take
The laurel wreath that Fame has twined and now
Offers to thee, if thou wilt but bow down
And worship at her feet and bring to her
The goodly offerings of thy soul. I see
Thee grasp the iron pen to write thy name «
In everlasting characters upon
The gate of Fame's fair dome. But stay thy hand!
Ah, take not yet the wreath of Fame, lest thou
Be satisfied with its false glittering
And fail to win a brighter, fairer crown, —
Such crown as Fame's skilled' fingers ne'er have learned
To fashion, e'en a crown of Life. And bring
Thy offerings, the first, the best, and place
52 An Astronomer's Wife.
Them on God's altar, and for incense sweet
Give Him the freshness of thy youth. And thus
Thou mayest gain a never fading crown.
And wait not now to trace thy name upon
The catalogue of Fame's immortal ones, but haste thee first
To have it writ in Heaven in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Pardon this seeming betrayal of a rustic poetess. For it
seems like betrayal to quote such lines, when she produced
much better ones. For example, the following verses are,
to my mind, true and rather good poetry :
I have not known thee long friend,
Yet I remember thee;
Aye deep within my heart of hearts
Shall live thy memory.
And I would ask of thee friend
That thou wouldst think of me.
I love to live. There are ten thousand cords
Which bind my soul to life, ten thousand sweets
Mixed with the bitter of existence' cup
Which make me love to quaff its mingled wine.
There are sweet looks and tones through all the earth
That win my heart. Love-looks are in the lily's bell
And violet's eye, and love-tones on the winds
And waters. There are forms of grace which all
The while are gliding by, enrapturing
My vision; O, I can not guess how one
Can weary of the earth, when ev'ry year
To me it seems more and more beautiful ;
When each succeeding spring the flowers wear
A fairer hue, and ev'ry autumn on
The forest top are richer tints. When each
Succeeding day the sunlight brighter seems,
And ev'ry night a fairer beauty shines
From all the stars
College Productions. 53
Likewise, this rather melancholy effusion, entitled " Wait-
ing " :
Love, sweet Love, I'm waiting for thee,
And my heart is wildly beating
At the joyous thought of meeting
With its kindred heart so dear.
Love, I'm waiting for thee here.
Love, now I am waiting for thee.
Soon I shall not wait thee more,
Neither by the open casement,
Nor beside the open door
Shall I sit and wait thee more.
Love, I shall not wait long for thee,
Not upon Time's barren shore,
For I see my cheek is paling,
And I feel my strength is failing.
Love, I shall not wait here for thee.
Yet in Heaven I will await thee.
When I ope the golden door
I will ask to wait there for thee,
Close beside Heaven's open door.
There I'll stand and watch and listen
Till I see thy white plumes glisten,
Hear thy angel-pinions sweeping
Upward through the ether clear;
Then, beloved, at Heaven's gate meeting,
This shall be my joyous greeting,
" Love, I'm waiting for thee here.''
ASAPH HALL, CARPENTER.
Like many other impecunious Americans (Angeline Stick-
ney included), Asaph Hall, carpenter, and afterwards astron-
omer, came of excellent family. He was descended from
John Hall, of Wallingford, Conn., who served in the Pequot
War. The same John Hall was the progenitor of Lyman
Hall, signer of the Declaration of Independence and Gover-
nor of Georgia. The carpenter's great-grandfather, David
Hall, an original proprietor of Goshen, Conn., was killed in
battle near Lake George on that fatal 8th of September,
1755.* His grandfather, Asaph Hall 1st, saw service in the
Revolution as captain of Connecticut militia. This Asaph
and his sister Alice went from Wallingford about 1755, to
become Hall pioneers in Goshen, Conn., where they lived in
a log house. Alice married ; Asaph prospered, and in 1767
built himself a large house. He was a friend of Ethan Allen,
was with him at the capture of Ticonderoga, and was one of
the chief patriots of Goshen. He saw active service as a sol-
dier, served twenty-four times in the State legislature, and
was a member of the State convention called to ratify the
Federal Constitution. Hall Meadow, a fertile valley in the
town of Goshen, still commemorates his name. He accumu-
lated considerable property, so that his only child, the second
* See Wallingford Land Records, vol. 13, p. 541.
Asaph Hall, Carpenter. 55
Asaph Hall, born in 1800 a few months after his death, was
brought .up a young gentleman, and fitted to enter Yale Col-
lege. But the mother refused to be separated from her son,
and before he became of age she set him up in business. His
inheritance rapidly slipped away: and in 1842 he died in
Georgia, where he was selling clocks, manufactured in his
Asaph Hall 3rd, born October 15, 1829, was the eldest of
six children. His early boyhood was spent in easy circum-
stances, and he early acquired a taste for good literature.
But at thirteen he was called upon to help his mother rescue
the wreckage of his father's property. Fortunately, the
widow, Hannah (Palmer) Hall, was a woman of sterling
character, a daughter of Robert Palmer, first of Stonington,
then of Goshen, Conn. To her Asaph Hall 3rd owed in large
measure his splendid physique ; and who can say whether his
mental powers were inherited from father or mother ?
For three years the widow and her children struggled to
redeem a mortgaged farm. During one of these years they
made and sold ten thousand pounds of cheese, at six cents
a pound. It was a losing fight, so the widow retired to a
farm free from mortgage, and young Asaph, now sixteen,
was apprenticed to Herrick and Dunbar, carpenters. He
served an apprenticeship of three years, receiving his board
and five dollars a month. During his first year as a journey-
man he earned twenty-two dollars a month and board ; and
as he was still under age he gave one hundred dollars of his
savings to his mother. Her house was always home to him ;
and when cold weather put a stop to carpentry, he returned
thither to help tend cattle or to hunt gray squirrels. For
the young carpenter was fond of hunting.
56 An Astronomer's Wife.
One winter he studied geometry and algebra with a Mr.
Rice, principal of the Norfolk Academy. But he found he
was a better mathematician than his teacher. Indeed, he
had hardly begun his studies at McGrawville when he dis-
tinguished himself by solving a problem which up to that
time had baffled students and teachers alike. But this is
Massachusetts educators would have us believe that a
young man of twenty-five should have spent nine years in
primary and grammar schools, four years more in a high
school, four years more at college, and three years more in
some professional school. Supposing the victim to have be-
gun his career in a kindergarten at the age of three, and to
have pursued a two-years' course there, at twenty-five his
education would be completed. He would have finished his
education, provided his education had not finished him.
Now at the age of twenty-four or twenty-five Asaph Hall
3rd only began serious study. He brought to his tasks the
vigor of an unspoiled youth, spent in the open air. He
worked as only a man of mature strength can work, and he
comprehended as only a man of keen, undulled intellect can
comprehend. His ability as a scholar called forth the admi-
ration of fellow-students and the encouragement of teachers.
The astronomer Briinnow, buried in the wilds of Michigan,
far from his beloved Germany, recognized in this American
youth a worthy disciple, and Dr. Benjamin Apthorp Gould,
father of American astronomy, promptly adopted Asaph Hall
into his scientific family.
If our young American's experience puts conventional
theories of education to the blush, much more does his man-
hood reflect upon the theory that unites intellectuality with
Asaph Hall, Carpenter. 57
personal impurity. The historian Lecky throws a glamor
over the loathesomeness of what is politely known as the
social evil, and calls the prostitute a modern priestess. And
it is well known that German university students of these de-
generate days consider continence an absurdity. Asaph Hall
was as pure as Sir Gallahad, who sang :
My good' blade carves the casques of men,
My tough lance thrusteth sure,
My strength is as the strength of ten,
Because my heart is pure.
Let it be conceded that this untutored American youth had
had an excellent course in manual training — anticipating the
modern fad in education by half a century. However, he
had never belonged to an Arts and Crafts Movement, and
had never made dinky little what-nots or other useless and
fancy articles. He had spent eight years at carpenter work ;
three years as an apprentice and five years as a journeyman,
and he was a skilful and conscientious workman. He hand-
led his tools as only carpenters of his day and generation
were used to handle them, making doors, blinds, and window-
sashes, as well as hewing timbers for the frames of houses.
Monuments of his handiwork, in the shape of well-built
houses, are to be seen in Connecticut and Massachusetts to
this day. Like other young men of ability, he was becom-
ingly modest, and his boss, old Peter Bogart, used to say
with a twinkle in his eye, that of all the men in his employ,
Asaph Hall was the only one who didn't know more than
And yet it was Asaph Hall who showed his fellow carpen-
ters how to construct the roof of a house scientifically. " Cut
and try " was their rule; and if the end of a joist was spoilt
58 An Astronomer's Wife.
by too frequent application of the rule, they took another
joist. But the young carpenter knew the thing could be done
right the first time; and so, without the aid of text-book
or instructor, he worked the problem out, by the principles of
projection. The timbers sawed according to his directions
fitted perfectly, and his companions marveled.
To himself the incident meant much, for he had proved
himself more than a carpenter. His ambition was aroused,
and he resolved to become an architect. But a kindly Provi-
dence led him on to a still nobler calling. In 1854 he set out
for McGrawville thinking that by the system of manual
labor there advertised he could earn his way as he studied.
When the stage rolled into town, whom should he see but
Angeline Stickney, dressed in her " bloomer " costume !
COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE.
President Eliot of Harvard University is quoted as saying
that marriage ought to unite two persons of the same re-
ligious faith : otherwise it is likely to prove unhappy. Presi-
dent Eliot has said many wise things, but this is not one of
them — unless he is shrewdly seeking to produce bachelors
and spinsters to upbuild his university. One of Angeline
Stickney's girl friends had a suitor of the Universalist de-
nomination, and a very fine man he was ; but the girl and her
mother belonged to the Baptist denomination, which was the
denomination of another suitor, whom she married for de-
nominational reasons. Abbreviating the word, her expe-
rience proves the following principle : If a young woman be-
longing to the Baptist demnition rejects an eligible suitor
because he belongs to the Universalist demnition, she is
likely to go to the demnition bow-wows.
For religious tolerance even in matrimony there is the best
of reasons: We are Protestants before we are Baptists or
Universalists, Christians before we are Catholics or Protest-
ants, moralists before we are Jews or Christians, theists be-
fore we are Mohammedans or Jews, and human before every
Angeline Stickney, like her girl friend, was a sincere Bap-
tist. Had joined the church at the age of sixteen. One of
60 An Astronomer's Wife.
her classmates, a person of deeply religious feeling like her-
self, was a suitor for her hand. But she married Asaph Hall,
who was outside the pale of any religious sect, disbelieved in
woman-suffrage, wasted little sympathy on negroes, and
played cards ! And her marriage was infinitely more fortu-
nate than her friend's. To be sure she labored to convert her
splendid Pagan, and partially succeeded ; but in the end he
converted her, till the Unitarian church itself was too narrow
Cupid's ways are strange, and sometimes whimsical.
There was once a young man who made fun of a red-haired
woman and used to say to his companions, " Get ready, get
ready," till Reddy got him ! No doubt the little god scored
a point when Asaph Hall saw Angeline Stickney solemnly
parading in the " bloomer " costume. Good humor was one
of the young man's characteristics, and no doubt he had a
hearty laugh at the young lady's expense. But Dan Cupid
contrived to have him pursue a course in geometry taught
by Miss Stickney; and, to make it all the merrier, entan-
gled him in a plot to down the teacher by asking hard ques-
tions. The teacher did not down, admiration took the place
of mischief, and Cupid smiled upon a pair of happy lovers.
The love-scenes, the tender greetings and affectionate
farewells, the ardent avowals and gracious answers — all
these things, so essential to the modern novel, are known
only in heaven. The lovers have lived their lives and
passed away. Some words of endearment are preserved in
their old letters — but these, gentle reader, are none of your
However, I may state with propriety a few facts in re-
gard to Angeline Stickney's courtship and marriage. It
Courtship and Marriage. 6i
was characteristic of her that before she became engaged
to marry she told Asaph Hall all about her father. He,
wise lover, could distinguish between sins of the stomach
and sins of the heart, and risked the hereditary taint per-
taining to the former — and this although she emphasized
the danger by breaking down and becoming a pitiable inva-
lid. Just before her graduation she wrote :
I believe God sent you to love me just at this time, that I might
not get discouraged.
How very good and beautiful you seemed to me that Saturday
night that I was sick at Mr. Porter's, and you still seem just the
same. I hope I may sometime repay you for all your kindness and
love to me. If I have already brightened your hopes and added to
your joy I am thankful. I hope we may always be a blessing to each
other and to all around us; and that the great object of our lives
may be the good that we can do. There are a great many things I
wish to say to you, but I will not try to write them now. I hope I
shall see you again soon, and then I can tell you all with my own
lips. Do not study too hard, Love, and give yourself rest and sleep
as much as you need.
A. Hall. C. A. S.
After her graduation, Mr. Hall accompanied her to Rod-
man, where he visited her people a week or ten days — a
procedure always attended with danger to Dan Cupid's
plans. In this case, it is said the young carpenter was
charmed with the buxom sister Ruth, who was, in fact, a
much more marriageable woman than Angeline. But he
went about to get the engagement ring, which, in spite of
a Puritanical protest against such adornment, was faith-
fully worn for twenty years. At last the busy housewife
burned her fingers badly washing lamp-chimneys with car-
62 An Astronomer's Wife.
bolic acid, and her astronomer husband filed asunder the
slender band of gold.
That the Puritan maiden disdained the feminine display
by which less manly lovers are ensnared is illustrated by the
following extract from a letter to Mr. Hall:
Last week Wednesday I went to Saratoga. Staid there till the
afternoon of the next day. The Convention was very interesting.
The speakers were Rev. Antoinette L. Brown,' Lucy Stone Blackwell,
Ernestine Rose, Samuel J. May, and T. W. Higginson.
. The streets of Saratoga were thronged with fashionables. I never
saw before such a display of dress. Poor gilded' butterflies, no
object in life but to make a display of their fine colors. I could not
help contrasting those ladies of fashion with the earnest, noble, work-
ing women who stood up there in that Convention, and with words
of eloquence urged upon their sisters the importance of awaking to
This letter was written in August, 1855, when Angeline
Stickney was visiting friends and relatives in quest of
health. In the same letter she sent directions for Mr. Hall
to meet her in Albany on his way to McGrawville ; but for
some reason he failed her, although he passed through the
city while she was there. This was a grievous disappoint-
ment, of which she used to speak in after years.
But in a few days they were together at McGrawville,
where she remained ten weeks — visiting friends, of course.
November 13 she set out for Wisconsin, hoping to find em-
ployment as a teacher near her sister Charlotte Ingalls.
Mr. Hall purposed to follow later. At depots and hotels,
during the journey westward, she thought of the absent
lover, and sent him long messages. In one letter she said :
One night I dreamed you had gone away somewhere, without let-
ting any one know where, and I tried to find where you had' gone
Courtship and Marriage. 63
but could not. Then I felt as miserable as could be. When I awoke
it still seemed a reality You must be a good boy and not go
away where I shall not know where you are It makes my
heart ache to think what a long weary way it is from Wisconsin to
In the same letter she speaks about lengthening a poem,
so that the time occupied in reading it was about twenty
minutes. In married life Mr. Hall rather discouraged his
wife's inclination to write verses. Is it possible that he
flattered her before marriage? If so, it was no more than
her other admirers did.
Again, in the same letter, she pleads for the cultivation
Did you go to the prayer-meeting last evening? It seemed to me
that you were there. If you do not wish to go alone I am sure Mr.
Fox will go with you. You must take some time, Love, to think of
the life beyond the grave. You must not be so much engaged in your
studies that you cannot have time to think about it and prepare
About the middle of December she had reached Elkhorn,
Wisconsin, where she remained a fortnight with Elder
Bright, her old pastor. Then she went to her sister Char-
lotte's, at Milford. In one of her letters from this place
she speaks of going surveying. It seems the surveyor of
the neighborhood was surprised to find a woman who
understood his business.
In the latter part of December, Asaph Hall returned to
Goshen, Conn. Hence the following letter:
Goshen, Jan. 17th, 1856.
Deaeest Angie: .... I think of you a great deal, Angie, and
sometimes when I feel how much better and holier you are than I
am, I think that I ought to go through with much trial and affliction
before I shall be fitted for your companion. In this way I presume
64 An Astronomer's Wife.
that my letters have been shaded by my occasional sad thoughts.
But Angie you must not let them affect you any more, or cherish
gloomy thoughts about me. I would not drive the color from your
cheek or give you one bad thought concerning me for the world. I
want, very much, to see you look healthy and strong when I meet
you. . . . Every time I go away from home, among strangers, I
feel my need of you. My friends here, even my sisters, seem cold
and distant when compared with you. O there is no one like the dear
one who nestles in our hearts, and loves us always. My mother
loves me, and is very dear to me, and my sisters too, but then they
have so many other things to think about that their sympathies are
drawn towards other objects. I must have you, Angie, to love me,
and we will find a good happy home somewhere, never fear. And
now you must be cheerful and hopeful, try to get rid of your head-
aches, and healthy as fast as you can You must remember
that I love you very much, and that with you life looks bright and
hopeful, while if I should lose you I fear that I should become sour
and disheartened, a hater of my kind. May God bless you, Angie.
The next month Mr. Hall was in Milford, Wisconsin,
whence he wrote to Angeline's mother as follows :
Milford, Wisconsin, Feb. 28th.
Dear Mrs. Woodward: .... I find Angeline with her health
much improved. . . . We expect to be married some time this
spring. I fear that I shall fail to fulfil the old rule, which says that
a man should build his house before he gets his wife, and shall com-
mence a new life rather poor in worldly goods. But then we know
how, and are not ashamed to work, and feel trustful of the future.
At least, I am sure that we shall feel stronger, and better fitted to
act an honorable part in life, when we are living together, and
encouraging each other, than we could otherwise. I know that this
will be the case with myself, and shall try to make it so with
Courtship and Marriage. 65
This hardly sounds like the epistle of a reluctant lover;
and yet tradition says the young carpenter hesitated to
marry; and for a brief season Angeline Stickney remem-
bered tearfully that other McGrawville suitor who loved
her well, but whose bashful love was too tardy to forestall
the straightforward Mr. Hall. " The course of true love
never did run smooth." In this case, the trouble seems to
have been the lady's feeble health. When they were married
she was very weak, and it looked as if she could not live
more than two or three years. But her mental powers were
exceptionally strong, and she remembered tenaciously for
many a year the seeming wrong.
However, under date of April 2, 1856, Angeline wrote to
her sister Mary, from Ann Arbor, Michigan:
Mr. Hall and I went to Elder Bright's and staid over Sunday.
We were married Monday morning, and started for this place in the
afternoon. Mr. Hall came here for the purpose of pursuing his
studies. We have just got nicely settled. Shall remain here during
the summer term, and perhaps three or four years.
And so Asaph Hall studied astronomy under the famous
Briinnow, and French under Fasquelle. And he used to
carry his frail wife on his back across the fields to hunt wild
ANN ARBOR AND SHALERSVILLE.
Do you know the beautiful legend of St. Christopher, the
strong man who served his masters well, but was dissatisfied
in their service until he heard of the Lord and Master Jesus
Christ? — how he then served gladly at a ford, carrying pil-
grims across on his back — how one day a little child asked
to be carried across, and perching on his broad shoulders
grew heavier and heavier till the strong man nearly sank
beneath the weight? But he struggled manfully over the
treacherous stones, and with a supreme effort bore his
charge safely through the waters. And behold, the little
child was Christ himself!
I think of that legend when I think of the poor ambitious
scholar, literally saddled by his invalid wife. For three
years he hardly kept his head above water. At one time he
thought he could go no further, and proposed that she stay
with his mother while he gained a better footing. But she
pleaded hard, and he struggled through, to receive the re-
ward of duty nobly done.
They remained at Ann Arbor about three months. But
in that time Asaph Hall had made so favorable an impres-
sion that- Professor Briinnow urged him to continue his
studies, and arranged matters so that he might attend col-
lege at Ann Arbor as long as he chose without paying tui-
tion fees. Angeline made plans for her sister Ruth and
Ann Arbor and Shalersville. 67
husband to move to Michigan, where Asaph could build
them a house.
But a living for two must be provided. They went south-
ward into Ohio, where they spent a month with Angeline's
Aunt Achsah Taylor, her mother's sister. You may be
sure they earned their board, Angeline in the house and
Asaph in the hayfield. Uncle Taylor was a queer old fel-
low, shedding tears when his hay got wet, and going off to
the hotel for dinner when his wife happened to give him
the wrong end of a fish.
August 6, 1856, they arrived at Shalersville, Ohio, where
they had engaged to teach at the Shalersville Institute.
Here they remained till about May 1 of the next year, when
Angeline returned to Rodman with funds enough to pay
with interest the money borrowed from her cousin Joseph
Downs; and Asaph proceeded to Cambridge, Mass., where
the director of the Harvard Observatory was in need of an
Let it not be inferred that teaching at Shalersville was
financially profitable. Asaph Hall concluded that he pre-
ferred carpentry. And yet, in the best sense they were most
successful — things went smoothly — their pupils, some of
them school teachers, were apt — and they were well liked
by the people of Shalersville. Indeed, to induce them to
keep school the last term the townspeople presented them
with a purse of sixty dollars to eke out their income. Asaph
Hall turned his mechanical skill to use by making a prism,
a three-sided receptable of glass filled with water. Satur-
days he held a sort of smoke-talk for the boys — the smoke
feature absent — and at least one country boy was inspired
to step up higher. The lad became a civil engineer.
68 An Astronomer's Wife.
The little wife was proud of her manly husband, as the
following passage from a letter to her sister Ruth shows :
He is real good, and we are very happy. He is a real noble, true
man besides being an extra scholar, so you must never be concerned
about my not being happy with him. He will take j ust the best care
of me that he possibly can.
It appears also that she was converting her husband to
the profession of religion. Before he left Ohio he actually
united with the Campbellites, and was baptized. In the
letter just quoted Angeline says:
We have been reading some of the strongest arguments against the
Christian religion, also several authors who support religion, and he
has come to the conclusion that all the argument is on the side of
She looked after his physical welfare, also. When he
was threatened with a severe fever, she wrapped him up in
hot, wet blankets, and succeeded in throwing the poison off
through the pores of the skin. So they cherished each
other in sickness and in health.
Angeline's cousin Mary Gilman, once a student at
McGrawville, came to Shalersville seeking to enlarge the
curriculum of the institute with a course in fine arts. She
hindered more than she helped, and in January went away —
but not till she had taught Angeline to paint in oil.
The old home ties were weakening. News came of the
death of Joseph Downs, and Angeline wrote to her aunt, his
He always seemed like a brother to me. I remember all our long
walks and rides to school. How kind it was in him to carry me all
that cold winter. Then our rides to church, and all the times we have
been together I can send you the money I owed him any time.
Ann Arbor and Shalersville. 69
.... I never can be enough obliged to him for his kindness in lend-
ing me that money, and I wished to see him very much, that I might
tell him how thankful I felt when he sent it to me.
Her sister Ruth wrote:
Sweet sister, I am so very lonely. It would do me so much good
to tell you all I wish. I have never found .... one so willing to
share all my grief and joy.
But when Angeline did at length return to Rodman,
Ruth's comfort must have been mixed with pain. A letter
to Asaph tells the story :
It is almost dark, but I wish to write a few words to you before I
go to bed. I have had one of those bad spells of paralysis this after-
noon, so that I could not speak for a minute or two I do not
know what is to become of me. If I had some quiet little room with
you perhaps I might get strength slowly and be good for something
after awhile I do not mourn much for the blasting of my own
hopes of usefulness ; but I can not bear to be the canker worm destroy-
ing all your beautiful buds of promise.
She remained in poor health a long time — so thin and
pale that old acquaintances hardly knew her. She wrote :
I feel something as a stranger feels in a strange land I guess. This
makes me turn to you with all the more love. My home is where
They had left Shalersville resolved that Asaph should
continue his studies, but undecided where to go. Professor
Brtinnow invited him to Ann Arbor; and Mr. Bond, direc-
tor of the Harvard College Observatory, encouraged him
to go there. Besides, the famous mathematician Benjamin
Peirce taught at Harvard. Not till they reached Cleveland
was the decision made. The way West was barred by a
storm on Lake Erie, and Angeline said, " Let's go East."
So she returned to Rodman for a visit, while her husband
set out for Harvard University. Fifty years and more have
passed since then. Their four sons have long since gradu-
ated at Harvard, and growing grandchildren are turning
their eyes thither. Mr. Hall talked with Professors Peirce
and Bond, and with the dean of the faculty, Professor Hos-
ford. All gave him encouragement, and he proceeded to
Plymouth Hollow, Conn., now called Thomaston, to earn
money enough at carpentry to give him a start. He earned
the highest wages given to carpenters at that time, a dollar
and a half a day; but his wife's poor health almost dis-
couraged him. On May 19, 1857, he wrote her as follows :
I get along very well with my work, and try to study a little in the
evenings, but find it rather hard business after a day's labor
I don't fairly know what we had better do, whether I had better
Strenuous Times. 71
keep on with my studies or not. It would be much pleasanter for
you, I suppose, were I to give up the pursuit of my studies, and try
to get us a home. But then, as I have no tact for money-making by
speculation, and it would take so long to earn enough with my hands
to buy a home, we should be old before it would be accomplished,
and in this case, my studies would have to be given up forever. I
do not like to do this, for it seems to me that with two years' more
study I can attain a position in which I can command a decent
salary. Perhaps in less time, I can pay my way at Cambridge, either
by teaching or by assisting in the Observatory. But how and where
we shall live during the two years is the difficulty. I shall try to
make about sixty dollars before the first of August. With this
money I think that I could stay at Cambridge one year and might
possibly find a situation so that we might make our home there.
But I think that it is not best that we should both go to Cam*
bridge with so little money, and run the risk of my finding employ-
ment. You must come here and stay with our folks until I get
something arranged at Cambridge, and then, I hope that we can have
a permanent home Make up your mind to be a stout-hearted
little woman for a couple of years. Come to Conn, as soon as you
But Angeline begged to go to Cambridge with him, al-
though she wrote :
These attacks are so sudden, I might be struck down instantly, or
become helpless or senseless.
About the first of July she went to Goshen, Conn., to stay
with his mother, in whom she found a friend. Though very
delicate, she was industrious. Her husband's strong twin
sisters wondered how he would succeed with such a poor,
weak little wife. But Asaph's mother assured her son that
their doubts were absurd, as Angeline accomplished as much
as both the twins together.
72 An Astronomer's Wife.
So it came to pass that in the latter part of August, 1857,
Asaph Hall arrived in Cambridge with fifty dollars in his
pocket and an invalid wife on his arm. Mr. George Bond,
son of the director of the observatory, told him bluntly that
if he followed astronomy he would starve. He had no
money, no social position, no friends. What right had he
and his delicate wife to dream of a scientific career? The
best the Harvard Observatory could do for him the first
six months of his stay was to pay three dollars a week for
his services. Then his pay was advanced to four dollars.
Early in 1858 he got some extra work — observing moon-
culminations in connection with Col. Joseph E. Johnston's
army engineers. For each observation he received a dollar ;
and fortune so far favored the young astronomer that in
the month of March he made twenty-three such observa-
tions. His faithful wife, as regular as an alarm clock,
would waken him out of a sound sleep and send him off to
the observatory. In 1858, also, he began to eke out his in-
come by computing almanacs, earning the first year about
one hundred and thirty dollars ; but competition soon made
such work unprofitable. In less than a year he had won the
respect of Mr. George Bond by solving problems which
that astronomer was unable to solve; and at length, in the
early part of 1859, upon the death of the elder Bond, his
pay was raised to four hundred dollars a year. He had won
After his experience such a salary seemed quite munificent.
The twin sisters visited Cambridge and were much dissatis-
fied with Asaph's poverty. They tried to persuade Ange-
line to make him go into some more profitable business.
Mr. Sibley, college librarian, observing his shabby overcoat
Strenuous Times. 73
and thin face, exclaimed, " Young man, don't live on bread
and milk ! " The young man was living on astronomy, and
his delicate wife was aiding and abetting him. In less than
a year after his arrival at Cambridge, he had become a good
observer. He had learned to compute. He was pursuing
his studies with great ardor. He read Brunnozt/s Astron-
omy in German, which language his wife taught him morn-
ings as he kindled the fire. In 1858 he was reading Gauss's
Angeline was determined her husband should make good
use of the talents God had given him. She was courageous
as only a Puritan can be. In domestic economy she was
unsurpassed. Husband and wife lived on much less than
the average college student requires. She mended their
old clothes again and again, turning the cloth; and econo-
mized with desperate energy.
At first they rented rooms and had the use of the kitchen
in a house on Concord Avenue, near the observatory. But
their landlady proving to be a woman of bad character, after
eight or nine months they moved to a tenement house near
North Avenue, where they lived a year. Here they sub-let
one of their rooms to a German pack-peddler, a thrifty man,
free-thinker and socialist, who was attracted to Mrs. Hall
because she knew his language. He used to argue with her,
and to read to her from his books, until finally she refused
to listen to his doctrines, whereupon he got very angry, paid
his rent, and left.
One American feels himself as good as another — if not
better — especially when brought up in a new community.
But Cambridge was settled long ago, and social distinctions
are observed there. It was rather exasperating to Asaph
74 An Astronomer's Wife.
Hall and his wife to be snubbed and ignored and meanly
treated because they were poor and without friends. Even
their grocer seemed to snub them, sending them bad eggs.
You may be sure they quit him promptly, finding an honest
grocer in Cambridgeport, a Deacon Holmes.
There is a great advantage in obscurity. Relieved of
petty social cares and distractions a man can work. Mrs.
Hall, writing to her sister Mary, February 4, 1859, declared
her husband was " getting to be a grand scholar :
... A little more study and Mr. Hall will be excelled by few in
this country in his department of science. Indeed that is the case
now, though he is not very widely known yet.
In another letter, dated December 15, 1858, she wrote:
People are beginning to know something of Mr. Hall's worth and
May 4, 1858 she wrote :
Mr. Hall has just finished computing the elements of the orbit of
one [a comet] which have been published neatly in the Astronomical
And thus Dr. B. A. Gould, editor of the Journal, became
acquainted with the young astronomer who was afterward
his firm friend and his associate in the National Academy of
Merit wins recognition — recognition of the kind which is
worth while. It was not many months before the Halls
found friends among quiet, unassuming people, and formed
friendships that lasted for life. It was worth much to be-
come acquainted with Dr. Morrill Wyman, their physician.
In a letter of February 4, 1859, already cited, Mrs. Hall
wrote : " Mr. Hall and I have both had some nice presents
Strenuous Times. 75
this winter," and she mentions a Mrs. Wright and a Mr.
Pritchett as donors. This Mr. Pritchett, an astronomer
clergyman from Missouri, was the father of Dr. Henry S.
Pritchett, a recent president of the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. Mr. Hall had given him some assistance in
his studies ; and twenty years afterward Henry S. Pritchett,
the son, became a member of the Hall family.
" We are having a holiday," wrote Mrs. Hall, on the first
May-day spent in Cambridge ; " the children are keeping
May-day something like the old English fashion. It is a
beautiful day, the warmest we have had this spring. Mr.
Hall and I have been Maying. Got some dandelions, and
blossoms of the soft maple. Have made quite a pretty bou-
quet." The tone of morbidness was beginning to disappear
from her letters, for her health was improving. Her relig-
ious views were growing broader and more reasonable, also.
Too poor to rent a pew in any of the churches, she and her
husband attended the college chapel, where they heard the
Rev. F. D. Huntington. In the following poem, suggested
by one of his sermons, she seems to embody the heroic ex-
perience of those early days in Cambridge :
" The Mountains Shall Bring Peace.''
O grand, majestic mountain! far extending
In height, and breadth, and length, —
Fast fixed to earth yet ever heavenward tending,
Calm, steadfast in thy strength !
Type of the Christian, thou ; his aspirations
Rise like thy peaks sublime.
The rocks immutable are thy foundations,
His, truths defying time.
j6 An Astronomer's Wife.
Like thy broad base his love is far outspreading;
He scatters blessings wide,
Like the pure springs which are forever shedding
Sweet waters down thy side.
" The mountains shall bring peace," — a peace transcending
The peace of sheltered vale;
Though there the elements ne'er mix contending,
And its repose assail,
Yet 'tis the peace of weakness, hiding, cow'ring; —
While thy majestic form
In peerless strength thou liftest, bravely tow'ring
Above the howling storm.
And there thou dwellest, robed in sunset splendor,
Up 'mid the ether clear,
Midst the soft moonlight and the starlight tender
Of a pure atmosphere.
So, Christian soul, to thy low states declining,
There is no peace for thee;
Mount up ! mount up ! where the calm heavens are shining,
Win peace by victory !
What giant forces wrought, O mount supernal!
Back in the early time,
In building, balancing thy form eternal
With potency sublime!
O soul of mightier force, thy powers awaken !
Work, sovereign energy!
Build thou foundations which shall stand unshaken
When heaven and earth shall flee.
Strenuous Times. yy
O Mount ! thy heart with earthquake shocks was rifted,
With red fires melted through,
And many were the mighty throes which lifted
Thy head into the blue.
Let Calv'ry tell, dear Christ ! the sacrificing
By which thy peace was won;
And the sad garden by what agonizing
The world was overcome.
Then Christian soul ! throughout thy grand endeavor
Pray not that trials cease !
'Tis these that lift thee into Heaven forever,
The Heaven of perfect peace.
It was the eve of the Civil War. The young astronomer
and his wife used to attend the Music Hall meetings in
Boston, where Sumner, Garrison, Theodore Parker, and
Wendell Phillips thundered away. On one occasion, after
Lincoln's election, Phillips spoke advocating disunion. The
crowd was much excited, and threatened to mob him. " Hur-
rah for old Virginny ! " they yelled. Phillips was as calm
as a Roman ; but it was necessary to form a body-guard to
escort him home. Asaph Hall was a six-footer, and be-
lieved in fair play; so he joined the little knot of men who
bore Phillips safely through the surging crowd. In after
years he used to tell of Phillips' apparent unconcern, and of
his courteous bow of thanks when arrived at his doorstep.
Angeline Hall had an adventure no less interesting. She
became acquainted with a shrewd old negress, called Moses,
who had helped many slaves escape North, stirring up mobs,
when necessary, to free the fugitives from the custody *of
78 An Astronomer's Wife.
officers. One day she went with Moses to call upon the poet
Lowell. He treated them very kindly. Was glad to have a
chat with the old woman, and smilingly asked her if it did
not trouble her conscience to resist the law. Moses was
ready to resist the law again, and Lowell gave her some
Superstitious people hailed the advent of Donati's comet
as a sign of war — and Angeline Hall was yet to mourn the
loss of friends upon the battlefield. But hoping for peace
and loving astronomy, she published the following verses in
a local newspaper:
O, not in wrath but lovingly,
In beauty pure and high,
Bright shines the stranger visitant,
A glory in our sky.
No harbinger of pestilence
Nor battle's fearful din;
Then open wide, ye gates of heaven,
And let the stranger in.
It seems a spirit visible
Through some diviner air,
With burning stars upon her brow
And in her shining hair.
Through veil translucent, luminous
Shines out her starry face,
And wrapped in robes of light she glides
Still through the silent space.
Strenuous Times. 79
Ye everlasting stars shine on !
And fill till it o'errun
Thy silver horn thou ancient moon,
From fountains of the sun!
But open wide the golden gates
Into your realm of Even,
And let the angel presence pass
In glory through the heaven.
LOVE IN A COTTAGE.
Miss Sarah Waitt, a Cambridge school-teacher of beauti-
ful character, and firm friend of Angeline Hall, once said,
after an acquaintance of thirty years or more, that she had
never known of a happier married life than that of Mr. and
Mrs. Hall. And yet these lovers quarreled!
The husband was opposed to woman suffrage. He
opposed his wife's writing poetry — not from an aversion to
poetry, but because poetry inferior to the best is of little
value. The wife, accustomed as an invalid to his thoughtful
attentions, missed his companionship as health returned.
What were her feelings the first night she found herself
obliged to walk home alone! But thereafter, like a more
consistent apostle of woman's rights, she braved the night
alone wherever duty led. She undertook to help her hus-
band in his computations, but, failing to persuade him that
her time was worth as much as his, she quit work. He
could, indeed, compute much faster than she, but she feel-
ingly demanded a man's wages.
However, this labor trouble subsided without resort to
boycott. The most serious quarrel — and for a time it was
very dreadful — arose in this way:
It is well known that Boston is the intellectual and moral
centre of the country, in fact of the world; the hub of the
Love in a Cottage. 8i
universe, as it were. There in ancient times witchcraft and
the Quaker superstition were gently but firmly discouraged
(compare Giles Corey, Longfellow's fine drama, long since
suppressed by Boston publishers). There in modern times
descendants of the Puritans practice race-suicide and Irish-
men practice politics. There a white man is looked upon as
the equal of a negro, though somewhat inferior, in many
ways, to the Boston woman. Now it so happened that some
Boston and Cambridge ladies of Angeline Hall's acquaint-
ance had resolved beyond equivocation that woman should
thenceforth be emancipated from skirts. They were de-
lighted to find that Mrs. Hall, in college days, had worn the
" bloomer " costume. So they very generously suggested
that she have the honor of inaugurating bloomers in Boston
and vicinity. Truly it showed a self-sacrificing spirit on the
part of these ladies to allow this comparatively unknown
sister to reap the honor due her who should abolish skirts.
They would not for one moment think of robbing her of this
honor by donning bloomers themselves. They could only
suggest that the reform be instituted without delay, and they
were eager to see how much the Boston public would appre-
Mrs. Hall was enthusiastic. Mr. Hall was not. Sordid
considerations biased his judgment. He reminded his wife
that they were just struggling to their feet, and the
bloomers might ruin their prospects. Mrs. Hall was furi-
ous! A pure-minded woman to be interfered with in this
manner! And worse than that, to think that she had mar-
ried a coward ! " A coward " — yes, that is what she called
him. It so happened, shortly afterward, that the astrono-
82 An Astronomer's Wife.
mer, returning home one night, found his wife by the door-
step watching a blazing lamp, on the point of explosion. He
stepped up and dropped his observing cap over the lamp.
Whereupon she said, " You are brave ! " Strange she had
not noticed it before !
Asaph Hall used to aver that a family quarrel is not al-
ways a bad thing. It may serve to clear the atmosphere.
Could he have been thinking of his own experience? It is
possible that the little quarrels indicated above led to a
clearer understanding of the separate duties of husband and
wife, and thence to a division of labor in the household. The
secret of social progress lies in the division of labor. And
the secret of success and great achievement in the Hall
household lay in the division of labor. At an early date Mr.
Hall confined his attention to astronomy, and Mrs. Hall con-
fined hers to domestic cares. The world gained a worthy
astronomer. Did it lose a reformer-poetess? Possibly.
But it was richer by one more devoted wife and mother.
From the spring of 1859 to the end of their stay in Cam-
bridge, that is, for three years, the Halls occupied the cozy
little Bond cottage, at the top of Observatory Hill. Back
of the cottage they had a vegetable garden, which helped out
a small salary considerably. There in its season they raised
most delicious sweet corn. In the dooryard, turning an old
crank, was a rosy-cheeked little boy, who sang as he turned :
Julee, julee, mem, mem,
Julee, julee, mem, mem;
then paused to call out:
" Mama, don't you like my sweet voice? "
Love in a Cottage. 83
Asaph Hall, Jr., was born at the Bond cottage, October
6, 1859. If we may trust the accounts of his fond mother,
he was a precocious little fellow — played bo-peep at four
months — weighed twenty-one pounds at six months, when
he used to ride out every day in his little carriage and get
very rosy — took his first step at fourteen months, when he
had ten teeth — was quite a talker at seventeen months,
when he tumbled down the cellar stairs with a pail of coal
scattered over him — darned his stocking at twenty-six
months, and demanded that his aunt's letter be read to him
three or four times a day — at two and a half years trudged
about in the snow in his rubber boots, and began to help his
mother with the housework, declaring, " I'm big enough,
mama." " Little A." was a general favorite. He fully en-
joyed a clam bake, and was very fond of oranges. One day
he got lost, and his terrified mother thought he might have
fallen into a well. But he was found at last on his way to
Boston to buy oranges.
Love in a cottage is sweeter and more prosperous when
the cottage stands a hundred miles or more from the homes
of relatives. How can wife cleave unto husband when
mother lives next door? And how can husband prosper
when father pays the bills ? It was a fortunate piece of hard
luck that Angeline Hall saw little of her people. As it was,
her sympathy and interest constantly went out to mother
and sisters. This is seen from her letters. In one she
threatened to rescue her mother from the irate Mr. Wood-
ward by carrying her off bodily to Cambridge. By others
it appears that she was always in touch with her sisters Ruth
and Mary. Indeed, during little A.'s early infancy Mary
84 An Astronomer's Wife.
visited Cambridge and acted as nurse. In the summer of
i860, little A. and his mother visited Rodman. Charlotte
Ingalls was on from the West, also, and there was a sort of
family reunion. Charlotte, Angeline and Ruth, and their
cousins Huldah and Harriette were all mothers now, and
they merrily placed their five babies in a row.
In the fall of the same year Angeline visited her aunts,
Lois and Charlotte Stickney, who still lived on their
father's farm in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. The old ladies
were very poor, and labored in the field like men, maintain-
ing a pathetic independence. Angeline was much con-
cerned, but found some comfort, no doubt, in this example
of Stickney grit. She had found her father's old home,
heard his story from his sisters' lips, learned of the stalwart
old grandfather, Moses Stickney; and from that time forth
she took a great interest in the family genealogy. In 1863
she visited Jaffrey again, and that summer ascended Mt.
Monadnock with her little boy. Just twenty-five years after-
ward, accompanied by her other three sons, she camped two
or three weeks on her grandfather's farm; and it was my
own good fortune to ascend the grand old mountain with
her. What a glorious day it was ! Great white clouds lay
against the blue sky in windrows. At a distance the rows
appeared to merge into one great mass ; but on the hills and
fields and ponds below the shadows alternated with the sun-
shine as far as eye could reach. There beneath us lay the
rugged land whose children had carried Anglo-Saxon civi-
lization westward to the Pacific. Moses Stickney's farm
was a barren waste now, hardly noticeable from the moun-
tain-top. Lois and Charlotte had died in the fall of 1869,
Love in a Cottage. 85
within a few days of each other. House and barn had disap-
peared, and the site was marked by raspberry bushes. We
drew water from the old well ; and gathered the dead brush
of the apple orchard, where our tent was pitched, to cook
WASHINGTON AND THE CIVIL WAR.
Many an obscure man of ability was raised to prominence
by the Civil War. So it was with the astronomer, Asaph
Hall. A year after the war broke out, the staff of workers
at the U. S. Naval Observatory was much depleted. Some
resigned to go South ; others were ordered elsewhere by the
Federal Government. In the summer of 1862, while his
wife was visiting her people in Rodman, Mr. Hall went to
Washington, passed an examination, and was appointed an
" Aid " in the Naval Observatory.
The city was in a turmoil. On August 27, three weeks
after he entered the observatory, Mr. Hall wrote to his
When I see the slack, shilly-shally, expensive way the Government
has of doing everything, it appears impossible that it should ever
succeed in beating the Rebels.
He soon became disgusted at the wire-pulling in Wash-
ington, and wrote contemptuously of the " American astron-
omy " then cultivated at the Naval Observatory. But he
decided to make the best of a bad bargain ; and his own work
at Washington has shed a lustre on American astronomy.
When he left Cambridge, thanks to his frugal wife, he
had three hundred dollars in the bank, although his salary
at the Harvard Observatory was only six hundred a year.
Washington and the Civil War. 87
The Bonds hated to lose him, and offered him eight hun-
dred in gold if he would stay. This was as good as the
Washington salary of one thousand a year in paper money
which he accepted, to say nothing of the bad climate and
high prices of that city, or of the uncertainties of the war.
The next three years were teeming with great events.
In less than a month after his arrival in Washington, the
second battle of Bull Run was fought. At the observatory
he heard the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry ; and
it was his heart-rending task to hunt for wounded friends.
His wife, still at the North, wrote under date of September
Dearest Asaph : .... I wish I could go right on to you, I feel
so troubled about you. You will write to me, won't you, as soon as
you get this, and tell me whether to come on now or not. If there
is danger I had rather share it with you.
What are you doing now? Does the excitement stop your busi-
Little A says he does not want papa to get shot. Cried about it
last night, and put his arms round my neck. He says he is going to
take care of mamma. There is a. terrible excitement in Boston.
To this her husband replied, September 6:
Dearest Angie: I have just got your letter. . . . You must
not give yourself any uneasiness about me. I shall keep along about
my business. We are now observing the planet Mars in the morning,
and I work every other night.
Don't tell little A that I am going to be shot. Don't expect any-
thing of that kind. You had better take your time and visit at your
leisure now. Things will be more settled in a couple of weeks.
Capt. Fox [his room-mate at McGrawville] seems to be doing
well. The ball is in his chest and probably lodged near his lungs.
It may kill him, but I think not
88 An Astronomer's Wife.
Observing Mars every other night, and serving Mars the
rest of the time! His wife's step-brothers Constant and
Jasper Woodward were both wounded. Jasper, the best of
the Woodward brothers, was a lieutenant, and led his com-
pany at Bull Run, the captain having scalded himself slight-
ly with hot coffee in order to keep out of the fight. Jasper
was an exceedingly bashful fellow, but a magnificent sol-
dier, and he fairly gloried in the battle. When he fell, and
his company broke in retreat, Constant paused to take a
last shot in revenge, and was himself wounded. Mr. Hall
found them both, Constant fretful and complaining, though
not seriously wounded, and Jasper still glorying in the fight.
The gallant fellow's wound did not seem fatal ; but having
been left in a damp stone church, he had taken cold in it, so
that he died.
Next followed the battle of Antietam, and the astrono-
mer's wife, unable to find out who had won, and fearful lest
communication with Washington might be cut off if she de-
layed, hastened thither. Now Col. A. J. Warner, a McGraw-
ville schoolmate, whose family lived with the Halls in
Georgetown, was brought home shot through the hip. To
add to the trials of the household, little A. and the colonel's
boy Elmer came down with diphtheria. Through the un-
flagging care and nursing of his mother, little A. lived. But
Elmer died. Mr. Hall, exhausted by the hot, unwholesome
climate no less than by his constant exertions in behalf of
wounded friends, broke down, and was confined within
doors six weeks with jaundice. Indeed, it was two years
before he fully recovered. Strange that historians of the
Civil War have not dwelt upon the enormous advantage to
Washington and the Civil War. 89
the Confederates afforded by their hot, enervating climate,
so deadly to the Northern volunteer.
In January, 1863, the Halls and Warners moved to a
house in Washington, on I Street, between 20th and 21st
Streets, N. W. Here a third surgical operation on the
wounded colonel proved successful. Though he nearly bled
to death, the distorted bullet was at last pulled out through
the hole it had made in the flat part of the hip bone. De-
ceived by the doctors before, the poor man cried : " Mr. Hall,
is the ball out? Is the ball out? "
Soon after this, in March, small-pox, which was preva-
lent in the city, broke out in the house, and Mr. Hall sent
his wife and little boy to Cambridge, Mass. There she
stayed with her friend Miss Sarah Waitt; and there she
wrote the following letter to Captain Gillis, Superintendent
of the Naval Observatory :
Cambridge, Apr. 17, 1863.
Dear Sir: I received a letter from Mr. Hall this morning saying
that Prof. Hesse has resigned his place at the Observatory. I wish
Mr. Hall might have the vacant place.
If the question is one of ability, I should be more than willing that
he with all other competitors should have a thorough and impartial
examination. I know I should be proud of the result. If on the
other hand the question is who has the greatest number of influential
friends to push him forward whether qualified or unqualified, I fear,
alas ! that he will fail. He stands alone on his merits, but his success
is only a question of time. I, more than any one, know of all his
long, patient and faithful study. A few years, and he, like Johnson,
will be beyond the help of some Lord Chesterfield.
Mr. Hall writes me that he shall do nothing but wait I could
not bear not to have his name at least proposed.
Angeune S. Hall.
90 An Astronomer's Wife.
On the 3rd of May Mr. Hall wrote to his wife from
Dearest Angie : Yesterday afternoon Capt. Gillis told me to tell
you that the best answer he could make to your letter is that here-
after you might address me as Prof. A. Hall
You wrote to Capt. Gillis, did you ? What did you write ?
And so it was that Asaph Hall entered permanently into
the service of the United States Government. His position
in life was at last secure, and the rest of his days were de-
voted completely to science. His wife, grown stronger and
more self-reliant, took charge of the family affairs and left
him free to work. That summer he wrote to her, " It took
me a long time to find out what a good wife I have got."
Some fifteen years afterward Mrs. Hall rendered a simi-
lar service to the famous theoretical astronomer, Mr. George
W. Hill, who for several years was an inmate of her house.
Knowing Mr. Hill's rare abilities, and his extreme modesty,
Mrs. Hall took it upon herself to urge his appointment to
the corps of Professors of Mathematics, U. S. Navy, to
which her husband belonged. There were two vacancies at
the time, and Mr. Hill, having brilliantly passed a competi-
tive examination, was designated for appointment. But cer-
tain influences deprived the corps of the lustre which the
name of Hill would have shed upon it.
In the fall of 1863 the Halls settled down again in the
house on I Street. Here the busy little wife made home as
cheerful as the times permitted, celebrating her husband's
birthday with a feast. But the I Street home was again in-
vaded by small-pox. Captain Fox, having been appointed
Washington and the Civil War. 91
to a government clerkship, was boarding- with them, when
he came down with varioloid. And Mr. Hall's sister, on a
visit to Washington, caught the small-pox from him. How-
ever, she recovered without spreading the disease.
In May, 1864, they rented rooms in a house on the heights
north of the city. Their landlord, a Mr. Crandle, was a
Southern sympathizer; but when General Jubal A. Early
threatened the city he was greatly alarmed. On the morn-
ing of July 12 firing was heard north of the city. Crandle,
with a clergyman friend, had been out very early reconnoi-
tering, and they appeared with two young turkeys, stolen
somewhere in anticipation of the sacking of the city. For
the Confederates were coming, and the house, owned as it
was by a United States officer, would surely be burned. A
hiding place for the family had been found in the Rock
Mr. Hall went to his work that morning as usual ; but he
did not return. Mrs. Hall, who was soon to give birth to
another son, took little Asaph and went in search of her
husband. He was not at the observatory, but the following
note explained his absence:
July 12, 1864.
Dear Angie : I am going out to Fort Lincoln. Don't know how
long I shall stay. Am to be under Admiral Goldsborough. We all
go. Keep cool and take good care of little A.
Together with other Observatory officials, Mr. Hall was
put in command of workmen from the Navy Yard, who
manned an intrenchment near Fort Lincoln. Many of the
men were foreigners, and some of them did not know how
92 An Astronomer's Wife.
to load a gun. Had the Confederates charged upon them
they might have been slaughtered like sheep. But in a day
or two Union troops arrived in sufficient force to drive
Before the summer was over, the Halls moved to a house
in Georgetown, on the comer of West and Montgomery
Streets. It was an old-fashioned brick house, with a pleas-
ant yard fenced by iron pickets. These were made of old
gun barrels, and gave the place the name of " Gunbarrel
Corner." Here, on the 28th of September, 1864, their sec-
ond child, Samuel, was born. And here the family lived
for three years, renting rooms to various friends and rela-
tives. One of these was Mr. Hall's sister, Mrs. Charles
Kennon, whose soldier husband lost his life in the Red
River expedition, leaving her with three noble little sons.
Mr. Kennon and the Halls had been neighbors in Cam-
bridge, where he studied at the Harvard Divinity School.
From the beginning Mr. Hall had objected to having a
home in Washington, and had looked to New England as a
fitter place for his family to live ; but his wife would not be
separated from him. The curse of war was upon the city.
Crowded with sick and wounded soldiers, idle officers and
immoral women, it was scourged by disease. Forty cases
of small-pox were at one time reported within half a mile of
the place where Mr. Hall lived. But people had become so
reckless as to attend a ball at a small-pox hospital. Most of
the native population were Southern sympathizers, and some
of the women were very bitter. They hated all Yankees —
people who had lived upon saw-dust, and who came to
Washington to take the Government offices away from
Washington and the Civil War. 93
Southern gentlemen. As Union soldiers were carried, sick
and wounded, to the hospital, these women would laugh and
jeer at them.
But there were people in Washington who were making
history. One day Mr. Hall saw Grant — short, thin, and
stoop-shouldered, dressed in his uniform, a slouch hat pulled
over his brow — on his way to take command of the Army of
the Potomac. That venerable patriot John Pierpont, whom
she had seen and admired at McGrawville, became attached
to Mrs. Hall, and used to dine at her house. She took her
little boy to one of Lincoln's receptions, and one night Lin-
coln and Secretary Stanton made a visit to the Naval Obser-
vatory, where Mr. Hall showed them some objects through
his telescope. At the Cambridge Observatory the Prince of
Wales had once appeared, but on that occasion the young
astronomer was made to feel less than nobody. Now the
great War President, who signed his commission in the
United States Navy, talked with him face to face. One
night soon afterward, when alone in the observing tower,
he heard a knock at the trap door. He leisurely completed
his observation, then went to lift the door, when up through
the floor the tall President raised his head. Lincoln had
come unattended through the dark streets to inquire why
the moon had appeared inverted in the telescope. Survey-
ors' instruments, which he had once used, show objects in
their true position.
At length the war was over, and the Army of the Potomac
and Sherman's Army passed in review through the city.
Mrs. Hall was one of those who witnessed these glorious
spectacles — rank after rank, regiment after regiment of sea-
94 An Astronomer's Wife.
soned veterans, their battle-flags torn and begrimed, their
uniforms shabby enough but their arms burnished and glis-
tening, the finest soldiers in the world ! Among the officers
was General Osborne, an old Jefferson County acquaintance.
Among all the noble men of those heroic times, I, for my
part, like to think of old John Pierpont, the minister poet,
who broke bread at my mother's table. Whether this pre-
dilection is due to prenatal causes, some Oliver Wendell
Holmes may decide. Certain it is that I was born in Sep-
tember, 1868, and in the preceding April my mother wrote :
O dear anemone, and violet fair,
Beloved hepatica, arbutus sweet!
Two years ago I twined your graces rare,
And laid the garland at the poet's feet.
The grand old poet on whose brow the snow
Of eighty winters lay in purest white,
But in whose heart was held the added glow
Of eighty summers full of warmth and light.
Like some fair tree within the tropic clime
In whose green boughs the spring and autumn meet,
Where wreaths of bloom around the ripe fruits twine,
And promise with fulfilment stands complete,
So twined around the ripeness of his thought
An ever-springing verdure and perfume,
All his rich fullness from October caught
And all her freshness from the heart of June.
But last year when the sweet wild flowers awoke
And opened their dear petals to the sun,
He was not here, but every flow'ret spoke
An odorous breath of him the missing one.
Washington and the Civil War. 95
Of this effusion John Greenleaf Whittier — to whom the
verses were addressed — graciously wrote:
The first four verses of thy poem are not only very beautiful from
an artistic point of view, but are wonderfully true of the man they
THE GAY STREET HOME.
In November, 1867, the Halls bought the Captain Peters'
place, No. 18 Gay Street, Georgetown, and for twenty-five
years, that is, for the rest of Angeline Hall's life, this was
her home. The two-story brick house, covered with white
stucco, and having a shingled roof, stood in the centre of a
generous yard, looking southward. Wooden steps led up
to a square front porch, the roof of which was supported by
large wooden pillars. The front door opened into a hall,
with parlor on the right hand and sitting room on the left.
Back of the sitting room was the dining room, and back of
that the kitchen. In the year of the Centennial, 1876, the
house was enlarged to three stories, with a flat tin roof, and
three bay-windows were added, one in the dining room and
two in front of the house, and the front porch was length-
ened so as to extend from one bay window to the other.
The new house was heated chiefly by a furnace and a large
kitchen range, but in the dining room and sitting room
grates were put in for open coal fires. The two rooms were
thrown together by sliding doors, and became the centre of
home comfort; though the room over the sitting room,
where, in a low cane-seated rocking chair of oak, Mrs. Hall
sat and did the family sewing, was of almost equal import-
ance. In the sitting room hung the old-fashioned German
THE GAY STREET HOME
The Gay Street Home. 97
looking-glass with its carved and gilded frame, the gift of
Dr. Powalky. Over the fire-place was an engraving of Lin-
coln,, and in one corner of the room was the round mahogany
table where Professor Hall played whist with his boys.
Over the dining room mantle hung a winter scene painted
by some relative of the family, and in the bay window stood
Mrs. Hall's fern table.
In the front yard was a large black-heart cherry tree,
where house-wrens built their nests, a crab-apple tree that
blossomed prodigiously, a damson plum, peach trees, box-
trees and evergreens. The walks were bordered with flower
beds, where roses and petunias, verbenas and geraniums,
portulacas and mignonnette blossomed in profusion. In the
back yard was a large English walnut tree, from the
branches of which the little Halls used to shoot the ripe nuts
with their bows and arrows. In another part of the back
yard was Mrs. Hall's hot-bed, with its seven long sashes,
under which tender garden plants were protected during the
winter, and sweet English violets bloomed. Along the side-
walk in front of the premises was a row of rather stunted
rock-maples ; for the Southern soil seemed but grudgingly to
nourish the Northern trees.
Such, in bare outline, was the Gay Street home. Here on
September 16, 1868, the third child, Angelo, was born.
Among the boys of the neighborhood 18 Gay Street became
known as the residence of " Asaph, Sam, and Angelico."
This euphonious and rhythmical combination of names held
good for four years exactly, when, on September 16, 1872,
the fourth and last child, Percival, was born. One of my
earliest recollections is the sight of a red, new-born infant
held in my father's hands. It has been humorously main-
98 An Astronomer's Wife.
tained that it was my parents' design to spell out the name
" Asaph " with the initials of his children. I am inclined to
discredit the idea, though the pleasantry was current in my
boyhood, and the fifth letter, — which might, of course, be
said to stand for Hall, — was supplied by Henry S. Pritchett,
who as a young man became a member of the family, as
much attached to Mrs. Hall as an own son. In fact, when
Asaph was away at college, little Percival used to say there
were five boys in the family counting Asaph. As a curious
commentary upon this letter game, I will add that my own
little boy Llewellyn used to pronounce his grandfather's
name " Apas." Blood is thicker than water, and though the
letters here are slightly mixed, the proper four, and four
only, are employed.
So it came to pass that Angeline Hall reared her four sons
in the unheard-of and insignificant little city of Georgetown,
whose sole claim to distinction is that it was once the home
of Francis Scott Key. What a pity the Hall boys were not
brought up in Massachusetts ! And yet how glad I am that
we were not ! In Georgetown Angeline Hall trained her sons
with entire freedom from New England educational fads;
and for her sake Georgetown is to them profoundly sacred.
Here it was that this woman of gentle voice, iron will, and
utmost purity of character instilled in her growing boys
moral principles that should outlast a lifetime. One day
when about six years old I set out to annihilate my brother
Sam. I had a chunk of wood as big as my head with which
I purposed to kill him. He happened to be too nimble for
me, so that the fury of my rage was ungratified. My mother
witnessed the affair. Indeed, she wept over it. She told
me in heartfelt words the inevitable consequences of such
The Gay Street Home. 99
actions — and from that day dated my absolute submission to
In this connection it will not be amiss to quote the words
of Mrs. John R. Eastman, for thirteen years our next-door
During the long days of our long summers, when windows and
doors were open, and the little ones at play out of doors often
claimed a word from her, I lived literally within sound of her voice
from day to day. Never once did I hear it raised in anger, and its
sweetness, and steady, even tones, were one of her chief and abiding
The fact is, Angeline Hall rather over-did the inculcation
of Christian principles. Like Tolstoi she taught the abso-
lute wickedness of fighting, instead of the manly duty of
self-defense. And yet, I think my brothers suffered no evil
consequences. I myself did. Perhaps the secret of her
great influence over us was that she demanded the absolute
truth. Dishonesty in word or act was out of the question.
In two instances, I remember, I lied to her; for in moral
strength I was not the equal of George Washington. But
those lies weighed heavily on my conscience, till at last, after
many years, I confessed to her.
If she demanded truth and obedience from her sons, she
gave to them her absolute devotion. Miracles of healing
were performed in her household. By sheer force of charac-
ter, by continual watchings and utmost care in dieting, she
rescued me from a hopeless case of dysentery in the fifth
year of my age. The old Navy doctor called it a miracle,
and so it was. And I have lived to write her story. Serious
sickness was uncommon in our family, as is illustrated by
the fact that, for periods of three years each, not one of her
ioo An Astronomer's Wife.
four boys was ever late to school, though the distance thither
was a mile or two. When Percival, coasting down one of
the steep hills of Georgetown, ran into a street car and was
brought home half stunned, with one front tooth knocked
out and gone and another badly loosened, Angeline Hall re-
paired to the scene of the accident early the next morning,
found the missing tooth, and had the family dentist restore
it to its place. There it has done good service for twenty
years. Is it any wonder that such a woman should have in-
sisted upon her husband's discovering the satellites of Mars ?
Perhaps the secret of success in the moral training of her
sons lay in her generalship. She was an ideal general. In
house and yard there was work to do, and she marshaled
her boys to do it. Like a good general she was far more
efficient than any of her soldiers, but under her leadership
they did wonders. Sweeping, dusting, making beds, wash-
ing dishes, sifting ashes, going to market, running errands,
weeding the garden, chopping wood, beating carpets, mend-
ing fences, cleaning house — there was hardly a piece of
work indoors or out with which they were unfamiliar. Nor
did they lack for play hours. There was abundance of lei-
sure for all sorts of diversions, including swimming and
skating, two forms of exercise which struck terror to the
mother heart, but in which, through her self-sacrifice, they
indulged quite freely.
Their leisure was purchased by her labor; for until they
were of academic age she was their school teacher. In an
hour or two a day they mastered the three R's and many
things besides. Nor did they suffer from too little teaching,
for at the preparatory school each of them in turn led his
class, and at Harvard College all four sons graduated with
The Gay Street Home. ioi
distinction. Four sons graduates of Harvard! How few
mothers have so proud a record, and how impossible would
such an achievement have seemed to any observer who had
seen the collapse of this frail woman at McGrawville ! But
as each successive son completed his college course it was as
if she herself had done it — her moral training had supplied
the incentive, her teaching and encouragement had started
the lad in his studies, when he went to school her motherly
care had provided nourishing food and warm clothing, when
he went to college her frugality had saved up the necessary
money. She used to say, " Somebody has got to make a sac-
rifice," and she sacrificed herself. It is good to know'that on
Christmas Day, 1891, half a year before she died, she broke
bread with husband and all four sons at the old Georgetown
Let it not be supposed that Angeline Hall reached the
perfection of motherhood. I make no such claim. The Gay
Street home was the embodiment of her spirit; and as she
was a Puritan, her sons suffered sometimes from her excess
of Puritanism. They neither drank nor used tobacco; but
fortunately their father taught them to play cards. Their
mother brought them up to believe in woman suffrage; but
fortunately Cupid provided them wives regardless of such
creed. She taught them to eschew pride, sending them to
gather leaves in the streets, covering their garments with
patches, discouraging the use of razors on incipient beards ;
but fortunately a boy's companions take such nonsense out
of him. She even left a case of chills and fever to the misdi-
rected mercies of a woman doctor, a homceopathist. I my-
self was the victim, and for twenty-five years I have ab-
horred women homoeopathic physicians.
102 An Astronomer's Wife.
But such trivial faults are not to be compared with the
depths of a mother's love. To all that is intrinsically noble
and beautiful she was keenly sensitive. How good it was to
see her exult in the glories of a Maryland sunset — viewed
from the housetop with her boys about her. And how
strange that this timid woman could allow them to risk their
precious necks on the roof of a three-story house!
Perhaps her passion for the beautiful was most strikingly
displayed in the cultivation of her garden. To each son she
dedicated a rose-bush. There was one for her husband and
another for his mother. In a shady part of the yard grew
lilies of the valley; and gladiolas, Easter lilies and other
varieties of lilies were scattered here and there. In the
early spring there were crocuses and hyacinths and daffo-
dils. Vines trailed along the fences and climbed the sides
of the house. She was especially fond of her English ivy.
Honeysuckles flourished, hollyhocks ran riot even in the
front yard, morning-glories blossomed west of the house, by
the front porch grew a sweet-briar rose with its fragrant
leaves, and by the bay windows bloomed blue and white
wisterias. A magnolia bush stood near the parlor window,
a forsythia by the front fence, and by the side alley a beauti-
ful flowering bush with a dome of white blossoms. The
flower beds were literally crowded, so that humming birds,
in their gorgeous plumage, were frequent visitors. In child-
hood Mrs. Hall had loved the wild flowers of her native
woods and fields ; and in the woods back of Georgetown she
sought out her old friends and brought them home to take
root in her yard, coaxing their growth with rich wood's
earth, found in the decayed stump of some old tree.
The Gay Street Home. 103
Thus the following poem, like all her poems, was but the
expression of herself:
The violet dreams forever of the sky,
Until at last she wakens wondrous fair,
With heaven's own azure in her dewy eye,
And heaven's own fragrance in her earthly air.
The lily folds close in her heart the beams
That the pure stars reach to her deeps below,
Till o'er the waves her answering brightness gleams —
A star hath flowered within her breast of snow.
The rose that watches at the gates of morn,
While pours through heaven the splendor of the sun,
Needs none to tell us whence her strength is born,
Nor where her crown of glory she hath won.
And every flower that blooms on hill or plain
In the dull soil hath most divinely wrought
To haunting perfume or to heavenly stain
The sweetness born of her aspiring thought.
O yearnful soul of infinite desire!
With what expectancy we wait the hour
When all the hopes to which thou dost aspire
Shall in the holiness of beauty flower.
AN AMERICAN WOMAN.
The desire of knowledge is a powerful instinct of the soul, as
inherent in woman as in man. . . . It was designed to be gratified,
all the avenues of her soul are open for its gratification. Her every
sense is as perfect as man's: her hand is as delicate in its touch,
her ear as acute in hearing, her eye the same in its wonderful
mechanism, her brain sends out the same two-fold telegraphic net-
work. She is endowed with the same consciousness, the same power
of perception. Every attribute of his soul is hers also. From her
very organization she is manifestly formed for the pursuit of the
same knowledge, for the attainment of the same virtue, for the un-
folding of the same truth. Whatever aids man in the pursuit of any
one of these objects must aid her also. Let woman then reject the
philosophy of a narrow prejudice or of false custom, and trust im-
plicitly to God's glorious handwriting on every folded tissue of her
body, on every tablet of her soul. Let her seek for the highest cul-
ture of brain and heart. Let her apply her talent to the highest use.
In so doing will the harmony of her being be perfect. Brain and
heart according well will make one music. All the bright intellec-
tions of the mind, all the beautiful affections of the heart will to-
gether form one perfect crystal around the pole of Truth.
From these words of hers it appears that Angeline Hall
believed in a well-rounded life for women as well as for
men ; and to the best of her ability she lived up to her creed.
Physically deficient herself, she heralded the advent of the
American woman — the peer of Spartan mother, Roman
matron or modern European dame. Her ideal could hardly
PHOTOGRAPH OF 1878
An American Woman. 105
be called " the new woman," for she fulfilled the duties of
wife and mother with the utmost devotion. Among college
women she was a pioneer ; and perhaps the best type of col-
lege woman corresponds to her ideal.
In person she was not remarkable — height about five feet
three inches, weight with clothing about one hundred and
twenty-three pounds. In middle life she was considerably
bent over, more from years of toil than from physical weak-
ness. Nervous strength was lacking; and early in life she
lost her teeth. But her frame was well developed, her waist
being as large as a Greek goddess's, for she scorned the use
of corsets. Her smooth skin was of fine stout texture. Her
well-shaped head was adorned by thin curls of wonderfully
fine, dark hair, which even at the time of death showed
hardly a trace of white. Straight mouth, high forehead,
strong brow, large straight nose, and beautiful brown eyes
indicated a woman of great spiritual force.
She cared little for adornment, believing that the person
is attractive if the soul is good. Timid in the face of physi-
cal danger, she was endowed with great moral courage and
invincible resolution. She used to speak of " going along
and doing something," and of " doing a little every day."
Friends and relatives found in her a wise counsellor and
fearless leader. She was gifted with intellect of a high
order — an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, a good mem-
ory, excellent mathematical ability, and the capacity for
mental labor. But her sense of duty controlled, and she de-
voted her talents to the service of others.
Unlike Lady Macbeth in other respects, she was suited to
bear men-children. And, thanks to her true womanhood,
she nursed them at the breast. There were no bottle babies
106 An Astronomer's Wife.
in the Hall family. Tradition has it that she endured the
pains of childbirth with unusual fortitude, hardly needing
a physician. But this seeming strength was due in part to
an unwise modesty.
With hardly enough strength for the duties of each day,
she did work enough for two women through sheer force of
will. It is not surprising then that she died, in the sixty-
second year of her age, from a stroke of apoplexy. She was
by no means apoplectic in appearance, being rather a pale
person ; but the blood-vessels of the brain were worn out and
could no longer withstand the pressure. In the fall of 1881,
after the death of her sister Mary and of Nellie Woodward,
daughter of her sister Ruth, she was the victim of a serious
sickness, which continued for six months or more. Friends
thought she would die; but her sister Ruth came and took
care of her, and saved her for ten more years of usefulness.
She lived to see her youngest son through college, attended
his Class Day, and died a few days after his graduation.
The motive power of her life was religious faith — a faith
that outgrew all forms of superstition. Brought up to ac-
cept the narrow theology of her mother's church, she be-
came a Unitarian. The eldest son was sent regularly to the
Unitarian Sunday School in Washington ; but a quarrel aris-
ing in the church, she quietly withdrew, and thereafter as-
sumed the whole responsibility of training her sons in Chris-
tian morals. Subsequently she took a keen interest in the
Concord School of Philosophy ; and, adopting her husband's
view, she looked to science for the regeneration of mankind.
In this she was not altogether wise, for her own experience
had proven that the advancement of knowledge depends
upon a divine enthusiasm, which must be fed by a religion
An American Woman. 107
of some sort. Fortunately, she was possessed of a poetic
soul, and she never lost religious feeling.
The following poem illustrates very well the faith of her
later life :
Friend of our race, O Science, strong and wise J
Though thou wast scorned and wronged and sorely tried,
Bound and imprisoned, racked and crucified,
Thou dost in life invulnerable rise
The glorious leader 'gainst our enemies.
Thou art Truth's champion for the domain wide
Ye twain shall conquer fighting side by side.
Knowledge and Freedom are thy great allies.
Thus thou art strong, and able thou to cope
With all thy enemies that yet remain.
They fly already from the open plain,
And climb, hard-pressed, far up the rugged slope.
We hear thy bugle sound o'er land and sea
And know that victory abides with thee.
Because thou'st conquered all one little world
Thou never like the ancient king dost weep,
But like the brave Ulysses, on the deep
Dost launch thy bark, and, all its sails unfurled,
Dost search for new worlds which may lie impearled
By happy islands where the billows sleep;
Or into sunless seas dost fearless sweep,
Braving the tempest which is round thee hurled;
Or, bolder still, mounting where far stars shine,
From conquest unto conquest thou dost rise
And hold'st dominion over realms divine,
Where, clear defined unto thy piercing eyes,
And fairer than Faith's yearnful heart did ween
Stretches the vastness of the great Unseen.
108 An Astronomer's Wife.
E'en where thy sight doth fail thou givest not o'er,
But still " beyond the red " thy spectraphone
The ray invisible transforms to tone,
Thus winning from the silence more and more;
Wherein thou buildest new worlds from shore to shore
With hills perpetual and with mountains lone;
To music moving pond'rous stone on stone
As unto Orpheus' lyre they moved of yore.
Still, Science, lightning-winged ! thy way pursue !
Beyond the farthest sweep of farthest sun,
Beyond the music of the sounding spheres
Which chant the measures of the months and years,
Toward realms that e'en to daring Thought are new
Still let thy flying feet unwearied run.
O, friend of Faith ! let her not deem thee foe,
Though thou dost drive her from the Paradise
To which she clings with backward turning eyes,
Thou art her angel still, and biddest her go
To wider lands where the great rivers flow,
And broad and green many a valley lies,
Where high and grand' th' eternal mountains rise,
And oceans fathomless surge to and fro.
Thus thou dost teach her that God's true and real,
Fairer and grander than her dreams must be;
Till she shall leave the realm of the Ideal
To follow Truth throughout the world with thee,
Through earth and sea and up beyond the sun
Until the mystery of God is won.
Whatever the literary defects, these are noble sonnets.
But I had rather take my chances in a good Unitarian
An American Woman. 109
church than try to nourish the soul with such Platonic love
of God. She disliked the Unitarian habit of clinging to
church traditions and ancient forms of worship; but better
these than the materialism of a scientific age.
Perhaps I do her an injustice. She was absolutely loyal
to truth, not guilty of that shuffling attitude of modern the-
ologians who have outgrown the superstition of Old Testa-
ment only to cling more tenaciously to the superstition of the
New. In the Concord School of Philosophy, and later in
her studies as a member of the Ladies' Historical Society
of Washington, she was searching for the new faith that
should fulfil the old. It might be of interest here to intro-
duce selections from some of her Historical Society essays,
into the composition of which she entered with great earnest-
ness. Written toward the close of life, they still retain the
freshness and unspoiled enthusiasm of youth. One speci-
men must suffice :
In thinking of Galileo, and the office of the telescope, which is to
give us increase of light, and of the increasing power of the larger
and larger lenses, which widens our horizon to infinity, this con-
stantly recurring thought comes to me : how shall we grow into the
immensity that is opening before us ? The principle of light pervades
all space — it travels from star to star and makes known to us all
objects on earth and in heaven. The great ether throbs and thrills
with its burden to the remotest star as with a joy. But there is. also
an all-pervading force, so subtile that we know not yet how it passes
through the illimitable space. But before it all worlds fall into
divine order and harmony. It is gravitation. It imparts the power
of one to all, and gathers from all for the one. What in the soul
answers to these two principles is, first, also light or knowledge, by
which all things are unveiled; the other which answers to gravita-
tion, and before which all shall come into proper relations, and
no An Astronomer's Wife.
into the heavenly harmony, and by which we shall fill the heavens
with ourselves, and ourselves with heaven, is love.
This is better than most philosophy. But after all, Ange-
line Hall gave herself to duty and not to philosophy — to the
plain, monotonous work of home and neighborhood. Like
the virtuous woman of Scripture, she supplied with her own
hands the various family wants — cooked with great skill,
canned abundance of fruit for winter, and supplied the table
from day to day with plain, wholesome food. Would that
she might have taught Bostonians to bake beans! If they
would try her method, they would discover that a mutton
bone is an excellent substitute for pork. Pork and lard she
banished from her kitchen. Beef suet is, indeed, much
cleaner. The chief article of diet was meat, for Mrs. Hall
was no vegetarian, and the Georgetown markets supplied
the best of Virginia beef and mutton. Like the virtuous
woman of Scripture, she provided the family with warm
clothing, and kept it in repair. A large part of her life was
literally spent in mending clothes. She never relaxed the
rigid economy of Cambridge days. She commonly needed
but one servant, for she worked with her own hands and
taught her sons to help her. The house was always substan-
tially clean from roof to cellar. No corner was neglected.
Nowhere on the whole premises was a bad smell tolerated.
While family wants were scrupulously attended to, she
stretched forth a hand to the poor. The Civil War filled
Washington with negroes, and for several winters Mrs.
Hall helped to distribute supplies among them. In 1872
she was " Directress " of the tenth, eleventh and twelfth
wards ; and for a long time she was a member of a benevo-
lent society in Georgetown, having charge of a section of
An American Woman. hi
the city near her residence. For the last fourteen years of
her life, she visited the Home for Destitute Colored Women
and Children in north Washington. Her poor colored neigh-
bors regarded her with much esteem. She listened to their
stories of distress, comforted them, advised them. The aged
she admitted to her warm kitchen; and they went away,
victuals in their baskets or coins in their hands, with the
sense of having a friend in Mrs. Hall. Uncle Louis, said
to be one hundred and fourteen years old, rewarded her
with a grape-vine, which was planted by the dining room
window. And " the Uncle Louis grape " was the best in the
At the close of the Civil War she even undertook to re-
deem two fallen Irish women by taking them into her house
to work. But their appetite for whiskey was too strong, and
they would steal butter, barter it for liquor, and come home
drunk. On one occasion one of these women took little
Asaph along to visit the saloon ; and there his mother found
him, with the servant standing by joking with rough men,
her dress in shreds.
Mrs. Hall had no time or strength for such charitable en-
terprises, and soon abandoned them. She was saved from
most of the follies of philanthropy by the good sense of her
husband, whom she rewarded with the devotion of a faith-
ful wife. His studies and researches, almost from the first,
were much too deep for her entire comprehension, but she
was always enthusiastic about his work. In the introduction
to his " Observations and Orbits of the Satellites of Mars,"
Professor Hall chivalrously says:
In the spring of 1877, the approaching favorable opposition of the
planet Mars attracted my attention, and the idea occurred to me of
ii2 An Astronomer's Wife.
making a careful search with our large Clark refractor for a satellite
of this planet. An examination of the literature of the planet showed,
however, such a mass of observations of various kinds, made by the
most experienced and skillful astronomers that the chance of finding
a satellite appeared to be very slight, so that I might have abandoned
the search had it not been for the encouragement of my wife.
In fact, Mrs. Hall was full of enthusiasm. Each night
she sent her husband to the observatory supplied with a nour-
ishing lunch, and each night she awaited developments with
eager interest. I can well remember the excitement at home.
There was a great secret in the house, and all the members
of the family were drawn more closely together by mutual
The moral and intellectual training of her sons has already
been referred to. Summer vacations were often spent with
her sisters in Rodman, N. Y. Her mother, who reached the
age of eighty years, died in the summer of 1878, when Mrs.
Hall became the head of the Stickney family. Her sisters
Mary and Elmina were childless. Ruth had six children, in
whose welfare their Aunt Angeline took a lively interest.
The three girls each spent a winter with her in Washington,
and when, in the summer of 188 1, Nellie was seized with a
fatal illness, Aunt Angeline was present to care for her.
Now and then Charlotte Ingalls, who had prospered in Wis-
consin, would come on from the West, and the Stickney
sisters would all be together. The last reunion occurred in
the summer of 1891, a year previous to Angeline's death.
It was a goodly sight to see the sisters in one wagon, near
the old home place; and when, at Elmina's house, Angeline
was bustling about attending to the needs of the united fam-
An American Woman. 113
ily, it was good to hear Charlotte exclaim, " Take care, old
lady ! " She was thirteen years older than Angeline, and
seemed almost to belong to an earlier generation. She re-
membered her father well, and had no doubt acquired from
him some of the ancient New Hampshire customs lost to her
younger sisters. Certainly her exclamations of " Fiddle-
sticks," and " Witch-cats," were quaint and picturesque.
But it was Angeline who was really best versed in the
family history. She had made a study of it, in all its
branches, and could trace her descent from at least eleven
worthy Englishmen, most of whom arrived in New England
before 1650. She made excursions to various points in New
England in search of relatives. At Belchertown, Mass., in
1884, she found her grandfather Cook's first cousin, Mr.
Thomas Sabin. He was then one hundred years old, and re-
membered how in boyhood he used to go skating with Elisha
How brief the history of America in the presence of such
a man ! I remember seeing an< old New Englander, as late
as 1900, who as a boy of eleven years had seen General La-
fayette. It was a treat to hear him describe the courteous
Frenchman, slight of stature, bent with age, but active and
polite enough to alight from the stage-coach to shake hands
with the people assembled to welcome him in the little vil-
lage of Charlton, Mass.
Mrs. Hall had no time for travel. At the close of life she
longed to visit Europe, but death intervened, and her days
were spent in her native country. She passed two summers
in the mountains of Virginia. In 1878, with her little son
Percival, she accompanied her husband to Colorado, to ob-
ii4 An Astronomer's Wife.
serve the total eclipse of the sun. Three years before they
had taken the whole family to visit her sister Charlotte's
people in Wisconsin.
It was through her family loyalty that she acquired the
Adirondack habit. In the summer of 1882, after the severe
sickness of the preceding winter, she was staying with a
cousin's son, a country doctor, in Washington County, N.
Y. He proposed an outing in the invigorating air of the
Adirondacks. And so, with her three youngest sons and the
doctor's family, she drove to Indian Lake, and camped there
about a week. Her improvement was so marked that the
next summer, accompanied by three sons and her sister
Ruth, she drove into the wilderness from the West, camp-
ing a few days in a log cabin by the side of Piseco Lake. In
1885, setting out from Rodman again, she drove four hun-
dred miles, passing north of the mountains to Paul Smith's,
and thence to Saranac Lake village, John Brown's farm,
Keene Valley, and Lake George, and returning by way of
the Mohawk Valley. In 1888 she camped with the three
youngest sons on Lower Saranac, and in 1890 she spent July
and August at the summer school of Thomas Davidson, on
the side of Mt. Hurricane. One day I escorted her and her
friend Miss Sarah Waitt to the top of the mountain, four or
five miles distant, and we spent the night on the summit be-
fore a blazing camp-fire. Two years later she was planning
another Adirondack trip when death overtook her — at the
house of her friend Mrs. Berrian, at North Andover, Mass.,
July 3, 1892.
Her poem " Heracles," written towards the close of her
career, fittingly describes her own herculean labors :
An American Woman. 115
Genius of labor, mighty Heracles!
Though bound by fate to do another's will,
Not basely, as a slave, dost thou fulfil
The appointed' task. The eye of God to please
Thou seekest, and man to bless, and not thy ease.
So to thy wearying toil thou addest still
New labors, to redeem some soul from ill,
Performing all thy generous mind conceives.
From the sea-monster's jaws thy arm did free,
And from her chains, the fair Hesione.
And when Alcestis, who her lord to save,
Her life instead a sacrifice she gave,
Then wast thou near with heart that never quailed,
And o'er Death's fearful form thy might prevailed.
Because thou chosest virtue, when for thee
Vice her alluring charms around thee spread,
The gods, approving, smiled from overhead,
And gave to thee thy shining panoply.
Then wentest thou forth to certain victory.
Nature obedient to thy will was led,
Out rushed the rivers from their ancient bed
And washed the filth of earth into the sea.
When 'gainst thy foes thy arrows all were spent,
Zeus stones instead, in whirling snow-cloud sent.
When with sore heat oppressed, O wearied one !
Thou thought'st to aim thy arrows at the sun,
Then Helios sent his golden boat to thee
To bear thee safely through the trackless sea.
A BUNDLE OF LETTERS.
The letters of Angeline Hall are genuine letters — not
meant for publication, but for the eyes of the persons ad-
dressed. The style, even the spelling and punctuation, are
faulty; and the subject-matter in most cases can have no
general interest. However, I have selected a few of her let-
ters, which I trust will be readable, and which may help to
give a truer conception of the astronomer's wife :
Rodman, July 26, '66.
Dearest Asaph,: I am at Mother's this morning. Staid over to
help see to Ruth, and now cannot get back over to Elminas, all so
busy at their work, have no time to carry me, then Franklin is sick
half the time. I shall probably get over there in a day or two. I
have had no letters from you since a week ago last night, have had
no opportunity to send to the Office.
Ruth and baby are doing well. Franklin has finished his haying
but has a little hoing to do yet — Constant is trying to get his work
along so that he will be ready to take you around when you come.
He wishes you to write when you will come so that he can arrange
his work accordingly. I hope you will come by the middle of
The children are pretty well. Samie has some cold. He thinks
you have forsaken him. When I ask him now where is papa, he
says " no papa." I have weaned him. he stayed with Aunt Mary
three nights while I was taking care of Ruth. He eats his bread
and milk very well now. Little " A " has been a very good' boy
A Bundle of Letters. 117
indeed, a real little man. I bought him and Homer some nice bows
and arrows of an Indian who brought them into the cars to sell just
this side of Rome, so that he shoots at a mark with Grandfather
I suppose Adelaide starts for Goshen next week. I have received
two letters from her.
Now do come up here as soon as you can. I do not enjoy my visit
half so well without you. I am going out with Mary after raspberries
this morning — Little Samie is very fond of them.
Georgetown Sept. 28 
Dear Sister Mary Little Angelo is only twelve days old', but he
is as bright and smart as can be. I have washed and dressed him
for four days myself. I have been down to the gate to-day. And
have sewed most all day, so you see I am pretty well.
To day is Sarnie's birthday, four years old — he is quite well and
happy — The baby he says is his.
How do you all do. I should like very much to take a peep at
you in your new home. Do you like it? We like our old place
better and better all the time. You must write to me as soon as you
can. Do you get your mail at Adams Centre? Have you any apples
in that vicinity this year?
Mr. Hall has just been reading in the newspaper a sketch of Henry
Keep's life which says he was once in the Jefferson Co. Poor house,
is it true?
Much love to 'you all
Georgetown March 3rd 1871
Dear Sister Mary: We received your letter, also the tub of
apples and cider. I have made some apple sauce, it is splendid. I
have not had one bit of boiled cider apple sauce before since we came
to Washington. I shall try to pay you for all your expense and
n8 An Astronomer's Wife.
trouble sometime. I would send you some fresh shad if I was sure
it would keep to get to you. We had some shad salted last spring
but it is not very nice. I think was not put up quite right, so it is
hardly fit to send.
We are all very well. Sammie has had a little ear-ache this week
but is better. Angelo is the nicest little boy you ever saw.
It is raining this morning. A man came to spade the ground to
sow our peas but it began to rain just as he got here, so we shall
have to wait a few days. My crocuses and daffodils are budded to
blossom, and' the sweet-scented English violets are in bloom, filling
the parlors here with fragrance. I do like the spring here so much.
We do not have to wait for it, but before we are aware it is here.
You must write often. I think we shall make you a little visit this
summer. How are Father and Mother and Constant and yourself?
Much love to you all from all of us.
Georgetown Jan. 18th '74
Dear Sister Mary : I am getting very anxious to hear from you.
Little " A " commenced a letter to you during his vacation, and
copied those verses you sent so as to send the original back to you
But he did not finish his letter and I fear he will not have time to
write again for some time as his studies take almost every minute
he can spare from eating and sleeping. We are all well. Baby grows
smart and handsome all the time.
Angelo keeps fat and rosy though we have to be careful of him.
Sarnie is getting taller and taller, and can not find time to play
enough. Mother Hall is with us this winter, is helping me about the
How is Mother and yourself and all? I hope you are all well.
You must dress warm so as not to take cold. Have you got any
body to help you this winter ? Write all the news. Has Salina gone
to the music school?
I will try to write again soon. Must write to Elmina in a day or
A Bundle of Letters. 119
The baby thinks Granpa's saw-man is the nicest thing he can find.
Angelo is so choice of it he will not let him touch it often.
Georgetown March 22nd [1877 probably]
Dear Sister Mary : We are working on our grounds some as the
weather permits. It will be very pretty here when we get it done.
And our house is as convenient as can be now. Tell Mother I have
set out a rose bush for her, and am going to plant one for Grandma
Sarnie has improved a great deal the last year, he is getting stout
and tall. Angelo is as fat as a pig and as keen as a knife. Percy
is a real nice little boy, he has learned most of his letters. Asaph Jr.
will go ahead of his Father yet if he keeps his health. I never saw a
boy of his age study as he does, every thing must be right, and be
understood before he will go an inch.
I am pretty well, but have to be careful, if I get sick a little am
sure to have a little malarial fever.
Much love to you all and write soon telling me how Mother is.
Rodman Aug. 13th 1881
Dear Asaph, Yesterday we buried Nellie over in the cemetery on
Grandfather's old farm in Rodman. You can not think how beauti-
ful and grand she looked. She had improved very much since she
was at our house, and I see she had many friends. I think she was
a superior girl, but too sensitive and ambitious to live in this world
so cramped and hedged about. She went down to help Mary, and
Mr. Wright's people came for her to go up and help them as Mrs.
Wright was sick, so Nellie went up there and washed and worked
very hard and came back to Mary's completely exhausted, and I
think she had a congestive chill to begin with and another when she
120 An Astronomer's Wife.
The little boys and I are at Elminas. I came over to rest a little,
am about used up. One of the neighbors has just come over saying
that Mary died last night at nine o'clock, and will be buried to-
morrow. So to-morrow morning I suppose I shall go back over to
Constant's, do not know how long I shall stay there.
I wish to know how you are getting on at home. Keep well if you
Tell Asaph and Samie to write.
With Much Love
C. A. S. Hall.
[P. S.] I do not know whether I had better go home, or try to
stay here and rest, I am so miserably tired.
The Old Brick, Goshen
9 A. M. Monday Morning July 14, 1884
Dear Asaph: I have just got through the morning's work. Got
up at half past five, built the fire, got the breakfast which consisted
of cold roast beef, baked potatoes, Graham gems, and raspberries
Percie got up with me and went for the berries, Angelo went over
to his Uncle Lyman's for the milk and cream, and Sammie went out
into the garden to work. Breakfast at half past seven. After break-
fast all the boys went to the garden, Sammie and Percie to kill
potato bugs and Angelo to pick the peas for dinner. Sammie has
just come in to his lessons. Angelo is not quite through, Percie is
done. I have washed the dishes and done the chamber work. Now
I have some mending and a little ironing to do. I have done our
washing so far a little at a time. I washed some Saturday so I have
the start of the common washer-women and iron Monday. I sup-
pose at home you have got somebody to wait on you all round, and
then find it hard work to live. I have mastered the situation here,
though it has been very hard for two weeks, and have got things
clean and comfortable.
The old brick and mortar though, fall down freely whenever one
raises or shuts a window, or when the wind slams a door, as it
often does here in this country of wind.
A Bundle of Letters. 121
Lyman has begun haying. It was showery Friday and Saturday
afternoon and some of his hay got wet.
Next month Lyman is to take the superintendency of the Torring-
ton creamery much to the discomfiture of Mary. [Professor Hall's
brother Lyman married Mary Gilman, daughter of Mrs. Hall's
cousin.] He made no arrangements as to stated salary. Mary is
trying to have that fixed and I hope she will.
Now how is A. Jr. ? I think he had better come up here and stay
with us awhile if his health does not improve very soon.
How is George?
Adelaide is staying with Dine during her vacation, they both came
up here last Tuesday, stayed to dinner, brought little Mary. I have
not seen Mary Humphrey yet. [Adelaide and Adeline, twins, and
Mary Humphrey were Professor Hall's sisters.] But the boys saw
her the Fourth.
C. A. S. Haix.
[P. S.] I do not think best for A to go to Pulkowa.
Washington Nov. 17th 1887
My Dear Boys [Samuel and Angelo at college] We received
Angelo's letter the first of the week and were very glad to get such
a nice long letter and learn how strong you were both growing.
I left for New Haven two weeks ago this morning ; had a pleasant
journey. A. met me at the depot. I had a room on Wall street not
far from the College buildings, so it was a long way to the Observa-
tory and I did not get up to the Observatory till Sunday afternoon,
as A. wanted to sleep in the mornings. Friday A. drove me up to
East Rock, which overlooks the city, the sea and the surrounding
country. Saturday evening we went to tea to Mrs. Elkins and after
tea, a pleasant little party gathered there. Sunday, Prof. Newton
came and took me to hear President Dwight preach, in the afternoon
A. and I went to Mrs Winchesters to see the beautiful flowers in the
green houses, then we went to Prof. Marshes, after which we went
to Miss Twinings to tea then to Prof. Wrights. Monday I went up
to the Observatory and mended a little for A. then went to Dr.
122 An Astronomer's Wife.
Leighton's to tea and afterwards to a party at Mrs. Winchesters. I
forgot to say that Monday morning Mrs. Wright came for me and we
went through Prof. Wright's physical Laboratory, then to the top of
the Insurance building with Prof. Newton to get a view of the city.
Tuesday morning I went up to the Observatory again and mended a
little more for A., then went down to dinner and at about half past
two left for New York where I arrived just before dark, went to the
Murray Hill Hotel, got up into the hall on the way to my room and
there met Dr. Peters, who said that father was around somewhere,
after awhile he came. Then we got ready and went to Prof. Chand-
ler's party. Wednesday I went to the meeting of the Academy. In
the afternoon Pres. Barnard gave a. reception. In the evening Mrs.
Draper gave a supper, and before supper Prof. Pickering read a
paper on his spectroscopic work with the Draper fund, and showed
pictures of the Harvard Observatory, and of the spectra of stars etc.
Thursday it rained all day, but I went to the Academy meeting.
Friday a number of the members of the Academy together with Mrs.
Prof. Barker Mrs. Draper and myself went over to Llewellen Park
to see Edison's new phonograph. They gave us an elaborate lunch.
Saturday morning your father and I went to the museum and saw
the statuary and paintings there, and left Jersey City about 2 P. M.
for home, where we arrived at about half past eight: We had a
pleasant time, but were rather tired. Percie and all are well as
usual. Aunt Charlotte is a great deal better. Aunt Ruth has not
gone to Wisconsin. I sent her thirty dollars to go with. I guess she
will send some of it to Homer to come home with. Jasper has left
home again said he was going to Syracuse. Aunt Ruth has trouble
enough, says she has been over to Elmina's, and David does not get
up till breakfast time leaving E. to do all the chores I suppose. She
writes that Leffert Eastman's wife is dead, and their neighbor Mr.
Now I must close my diary or I shall not get it into the office
I am putting down carpets and am very busy
C. A. S. Hall.
A Bundle of Letters. 123
[Washington] Nov. 12th '88
My Dear Angelo and Percival [at college], .... Sam. is read-
ing Goethe's Faust aloud to me when I can sit down to sew, and
perhaps I told you that he is helping me to get things together for
my Prometheus Unbound. He is translating now Aeschylos' frag-
ments for I wish to know as far as possible how Aeschylos treated
the subject. I have a plan all my own which I think a good one,
and have made a beginning. I know I shall have to work hard if I
write any thing good, but am willing to work. You must write often.
Father and Sam. and I went to Mr. Kings to tea last evening. On
the next day after Thanksgiving our Historical Society begins its
C. A. S. Haix.
Clinton, N. Y. Sept. 8th, 1890
My Dear Boys [Angelo and Percival], I arrived here safely early
this afternoon. Miss Waitt and I had a very pleasant drive on
Thursday. We passed the Cascade Lakes. Stopped at the John
Brown place for lunch, then drove over to Lake Placid, we went
up to the top of the tower at Grand View House and had a good
look at the mountains and the lake as far as we could see it there.
Then we passed on to Wilmington Notch which I think much finer
than any mountain pass which I have before seen. We went on to
Wilmington and stayed over night. There was a hard shower before
breakfast, but the rain stopped in time for the renewal of our jour-
ney. We arrived at Au Sable Chasm a little after noon on Saturday.
The Chasm is very picturesque but not so grand as the Wilmington
Pass. We saw the falls in the Au Sable near the Pass; there are
several other falls before the river reaches the Chasm. From the
Chasm we went on to Port Kent where Miss Waitt took the steamer
for Burlington, and where I stayed over night. In the morning I
took the steamer for Ticonderoga. We plunged into a fog which
shut out all view till we neared Burlington, when it lifted a little.
After a while it nearly all went away, and I had a farewell look of
124 An Astronomer's Wife.
the mountains as we passed. It began to rain before we reached
Ticonderoga but we got a very good view of the old Fort. I thought
of Asaph Hall the first, and old Ethan Allen, and' of your great great
grandfather David Hall whose bones lie in an unknown grave some-
where in the vicinity.
The steamer goes south only to Ticonderoga ; and there I took the
cars for Whitehall where I found my cousin Elizabeth Benjamin
seemingly most happy to see me. She is an intelligent woman
though she has had very little opportunity for book learning. She
has a fine looking son at Whitehall.
It will soon be time for you to leave Keene. I think it would be
well for you to pack your tent the day before you go if you can sleep
one night in the large tent. Of course the tent should be dry when it
is packed if possible, otherwise you will have to dry it after you get
to Cambridge. Remember to take all the things out of my room
there. The essence of peppermint set near the west window.
They are all well here at the Borsts.
I shall go up to Aunt Elmina's this week. Write to me there.
Love to all,
C. A. S. Hall.
2715 N Street [same as 18 Gay St]
Washington D. C. March 28th 1891
My Dear Boys [Angelo and Percival at college], .... I am sorry
the Boston girl is getting to be so helpless. I think all who have to
keep some one to take care of them had better leave for Europe on
the first steamer.
I think co-education would be a great help to both boys and girls.
I have never liked schools for girls alone since Harriette Lewis and
Antoinette McLain went to Pittsfield to the Young Ladies Institute.
I have j ust been reading Mrs. Stanton's advice to her sons, " When
you marry do choose a woman with a spine and sound teeth." Now
I think a woman needs two kinds of good back-bone.
As for Astronomical work, and all kinds of scientific work, there
may not be the pressing need there was for it a few centuries ago;
but I think our modern theory of progress is nearly right as de-
A Bundle of Letters. 125
scribed by Taine, " as that which founds all our aspirations on the
boundless advance of the sciences, on the increase of comforts which
their applied discoveries constantly bring to the human condition,
and on the increase of good sense which their discoveries, popu-
larized, slowly deposit in the human brain." Of course Ethical teach-
ing must keep pace. It is well to keep the teaching of the Prometheus
Bound in mind, that merely material civilization is not enough; and
must not stand alone. But the knowledge that we get from all
science, that effects follow causes always, will teach perhaps just as
effectively as- other preaching.
This makes me think of the pleasant time Sam and I had when he
was home last, reading George Eliot's Romola. This work is really
a great drama, and I am much impressed with the power of it.
I would say Philosophy AND Science now and forever one and
With much love
C. A. S. Hall.
Washington D. C. June 10th '92
My Dear Pekcival [at college], Your father has just got home
from Madison. He says you can go to see the boat-race if you wish
to. A. Jr. says perhaps he will go, when are the tickets to be sold,
he says, on the train that follows the race? He thinks perhaps he
would like two tickets.
Now about your furniture. When Sam was home we talked it
over. He thought you had better sell to the Fays the bureau, bed-
stead, chairs, etc. and that you send home the revolving bookcase,
the desk and hair mattress ; and such of the bedclothes as you wish
to carry to the mountains of course you will keep, but I expect to go
up there and will look over the bedclothes with you, there may be
some to send home.
Now I suppose you are to keep your room so that our friends can
see the exercises around the tree on Class-day, I wish Mr. and Mrs.
King to come and Mr. and Mrs. Berrien. Will you write to them or
shall I write?
126 An Astronomer's Wife.
I expect to go up on Wednesday the 22nd so as to get a little rested
before Class-day. I intend to go over to stay with Mrs. Berrien at
North Andover between Class-day and Commencement.
We have just received an invitation to Carrie Clark's wedding.
An invitation came from Theodore Smith to Father and me, but
father says he will not go.
C A. S. Hall.
AUGUSTA LARNED'S TRIBUTE.
The following tribute was written by Miss Augusta Lar-
ned, and published in the Christian Register of July 28,
There is one master link in the family bond, as there is one key-
stone in the arch. Often we know not its binding power until it is
taken away. Then the home begins to crumble and fall into con-
fusion, and the distinct atoms, like beads from a broken string,
roll off into distant corners. We turn our thoughts to one who made
the ideal home, pervaded it, filled its every part like air and sunshine
coming in at open windows, as unobtrusive as gentle. A spiritual
attraction drew all to this centre. It was not what she said or did';
it was what she was that inclined footsteps to her door. Those who
once felt that subtle, penetrating sweetness felt they must return to
bask in it again and again. So she never lost friends by a loss more
pathetic than death. There were no dislocations in her life. All was
even development and growth.
The good she did seemed to enter the pores of the spirit, and to
uplift in unknown ways the poor degraded ideal of our lives. The
secret of her help was not exuberance, but stillness and rest. Ever
more and more the beautiful secret eluded analysis. It shone out of
her eyes. It lingered in the lovely smile that irradiated her face,
and made every touch and tone a benediction. Even the dullest per-
ception must have seen that her life was spiritual, based on unsel-
fishness and charity. Beside her thoughtfulness and tender care all
other kinds of self-abnegation seemed poor. She lived in the higher
range of being. The purity of her face and the clearness of her eyes
was a rebuke to all low motives. But no word of criticism fell from her
128 An Astronomer's Wife.
lips. She was ready to take into her all-embracing tenderness those
whom others disliked and shunned. Her gentle nature found a thou-
sand excuses for their faults. Life had been hard with them; and,
for this reason, she must be lenient. The good in each soul was
always present to her perceptions. She reverenced it even in its evil
admixture as a manifestation of the divine.
She shunned the smallest witticism at another's expense, lest she
should pain or soil that pure inner mirror of conscience by an exag-
geration. Perfect justice was the rule of her life. To the poor and
despised she never condescended, but poured out her love and charity
as the woman of Scripture broke the box of precious ointment to
anoint the Master's feet. All human beings received their due meed
of appreciation at her hands. She disregarded the conventional limits
a false social order has set up, shunning this one and honoring that
one, because of externals. She was not afraid of losing her place in
society by knowing the wrong people. She went her way with a
strange unworldliness through all the prickly hedges, daring to be
true to her own nature. She drew no arbitrary lines between human
beings. It was the soul that interested her. The rich were not wel-
come for their riches, nor the poor for their poverty; but all were
welcome for their humanity.
Her door was as the door of a shrine because the fair amenities
were always found within. Hospitality to her was as sacred as the
hearth altar to the ancients. If she had not money to give the mendi-
cant, she gave that something infinitely better, — the touch of human
kinship. Many came for the dole she had to bestow, the secret
charity that was not taken from her superfluity, but from her need.
Her lowliness of heart was like that of a little child. How could a
stranger suspect that she was a deep and profound student? Her
researches had led her to the largest, most liberal faith in God and
the soul and the spirit of Christ incarnate in humanity. The study
of nature, to which she was devoted, showed her no irreconcilable
break between science and religion. She could follow the boldest
flights of the speculative spirit or face the last analysis of the physi-
cist, while she clung to God and the witness of her own being. She
aimed at an all-round culture, that one part of her nature might not
be dwarfed by over-balance and disproportion.
Augusta Laened's Tribute. 129
But it was the high thinking that went on with the daily doing of
common duties that made her life so exceptional. A scholar in the
higher realms of knowledge, a thinker, a seeker after truth, but,
above all, the mother, the wife, the bread-giver to the household. It
was a great privilege to know this woman who aped not others'
fashions, who had better and higher laws to govern her life, who
admitted no low motive in her daily walk, who made about her, as
by a magician's wand, a sacred circle, free from all gossip, envy,
strife, and pettiness, who kept all bonds intact by constancy and un-
dimmed affection, and has left a memory so sacred few can find
words to express what she was to her friends.
But love and self-forgetfulness and tender service wear out the
silver cord. It was fretted away silently, without complaint, the face
growing ever more seraphic, at moments almost transparent with the
shining of an inner light. One trembled to look on that spiritual
beauty. Surely, the light of a near heaven was there. Silently, with-
out complaint or murmur, she was preparing for the great change.
Fa*r-away thoughts lay mirrored in her clear, shining eyes. She had
seen upon the mount the pattern of another life. Still no outward
change in duty-doing, in tender care for others. Then one day she
lay down and fell asleep like a little child on its mother's breast,
with the inscrutable smile on her lips. She who had been " mother-
ing" everybody all her life long was at last gathered gently and
painlessly into the Everlasting Arms.
An amber Adirondack river flows
Down through the hills to blue Ontario;
Along its banks the staunch rock-maple grows,
And fields of wheat beneath the drifted snow.
The summer sun, as if to quench his flame,
Dips in the lake, and sinking disappears.
Such was the land from which my mother came
To college, questioning the future years;
And through the Northern winter's bitter gloom,
Gilding the pane, her lamp of knowledge burned.
The bride of Science she; and he the groom
She wed; and they together loved and. learned.
And like Orion, hunting down the stars,
He found and gave to her the moons of Mars.